Speed and Knowledge

The distinction between the practical-applied and technical-theoretic points of view: speed.

  • the practical-applied point of view demands a this about which practice can proceed indifferent to the inner content of the this. This content (essence) must appear only insofar as practice demands it. Practical application is thus a question of sufficiency, of “good enough.” Sufficiency hereby takes the form: “if x, then y. x, therefore y.”
  • the technical-theoretic point of view enters the scene when this essence fails to appear, asking: how could the essence have failed to appear? This inner negativity is the hallmark of theory, since it wonders not what is sufficient or “good enough” but what is necessary, or what must be. Necessity, hereby, takes the form: “if x, then y. not-y, therefore not-x.” The conditional stipulates a necessity which, absent y, demands an absent x.

Speed essentially captures this difference, since sufficiency is faster than necessity. Any x can be posited in connection to a y if that x appears and the y follows. The rapture of this speed wins it great joy of mind. By contrast, the careful, painstaking labor of peeling back the concomitant conditions of y’s succeeding x destroys such rapture as the mind feels itself sundered by negations of its gross, misdirected confidences. Here the mind slows down, carried no longer by the joy of connection but by the anxious weight of separation. Theory, as Plato writes, is thus preparation for death, since it is a form of death itself – the death of mind at work enjoying the world.

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