Actually, I think that the field I'm in has turned in more conservative directions since I have gone to graduate school.
I was encouraged when I read in Badiou's Ethics not long ago that it is typical of contemporary thought to regard the avant-garde as being passé. Badiou's in his 80s: I imagine he's been around long enough to know.
As I began to compartmentalize my attention recently--so that I could focus more effectively on writing an article on an avant-garde orchestral piece from the 1950s--I began to notice a shift in my relationship to my environment. On the one hand, I felt gratified to be engaging with my preferred subject matter, rather than resenting that so many day-to-day details were continually causing me to have to neglect it. On the other hand, I found that my day-to-day environment seemed to be even more uninteresting than it had seemed before.
Then, this week, I chanced upon a documentary online about Mark Rothko and watched it during a series of breaks from writing. That took me to a pretty deep place, which was gratifying, but it has led to my feeling wearily detached from my work environment.
And so it goes. I need to give up the idea that, some day, the things that I value will seem more relevant to people in my environment. I honestly don't think that's likely. What I need to do, however, is to focus more on devoting time and attention to things that I value.
Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,