The Consequences of Mastery

I want to write a hardcore philosophical essay right now, I mean, rhetorically. It is also going to be short, maybe. I say this because I feel like I am dealing with a priori consequences, or with results that flow from the concepts themselves.

Well, without giving a formal introduction, I mean, without laying out the stakes beforehand, let’s consider the question, “what is mastery?” I have been thinking over this for a few days now… I feel we can start with some banalities: namely, that mastery involves a non-concern with technics. So I distinguish it from nerdiness. … I just wrote this on facebook:

Mastery (of something) resembles spaciness / vapidity because it is not nerdy (it doesn’t concern itself with technical details), ie, a master sounds like a fool with the added aspect of being competent at technics nonetheless. It *does* resemble being nonchalantly good at something, but not because such technics provides a form of transcendance, ie, not from depths of experience. Mastery, then, may be not only superficially but also essentially a regression in attitude towards an earlier stage. We can maybe sum up all this by simply pointing out that a master, perhaps like a child (or certain childlike moments) is fundamentally interested in intentionality, choice, other living beings, and not objects or facts (I mean, with regards to the domain of mastery, not in a general ‘zen’ sense.).

So, I think we can say that we have moments of mastery, or mastery is not so much who we are as some way of seeing the world. … OK, so let that be our introduction.

Isn’t mastery a surveying? Yes, but it is at once a surverying, of the field, and of our past, and it is a way of continuing to live, which means, that it is still concerned with intentionality, or with the future. The master is concerned with history but not with a technical or intellectual history… and perhaps not with a history at all, in the traditional sense. The idea that mastery is a regression feels important to me, I mean, that it is a *non-technical* attitude, despite being deeply involved in some discipline. This is important because the consequences are quite nice, it means that we can deal with almost everything at all in a non-technical way, say, math, physics, as long as we restrict ourselves to mastery.

This is what I am so excited about — that mastery, the full understanding of anything, is non-technical (I mean, we will still have to be familiar with technical details) — it is not so different from the frightened apprentice except for the following important difference (the master shares more with the novice than with the journeyman): to the novice everything is a promise of future self-overcoming, everything is leading towards the future. But perhaps — and this is a big hope, a big perhaps — with mastery we can … manifest, or introduce into the system, these intentionalities or these futurities.

TBC: Examples; Relativity and Mastery


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