Creative Energy VI: Riding the Lightning, Research Time, 13/12/2017

Let's begin that trip into what Gilles Deleuze called catching hold of chaos. The essence of philosophical thinking.

Try a little experiment in imagination.

Step One. Imagine your intuition is perfectly right every time. You naturally understand every practically important aspect of the world around you – the conditions of every action, the most likely effects of every piece of communication no matter the medium or institution.

Every decision you make in your life is perfect – not by luck or unthinking instinct, but because you understand every situation completely at first glance. Literally at first glance. I cannot emphasize this last part enough.

When thought itself becomes so fast, the distance between
your insights falls to zero. That's what Deleuze means by
catching hold of the infinite.
Image by Aykut Aydogdu. Check out his stuff.

The most important part of this illustration is that you understand every situation you encounter in your life completely and perfectly at first glance.

Now imagine the same kind of perfect intellectual intuition, but in thought alone. Nothing to do with the world of practical life, unfortunately – nothing to do with social interaction, dancing, home repair, finding a quick way home through heavy traffic. Nothing useful like that.

Step Two. Imagine the same kind of perfect intellectual intuition, but you’re just thinking about the abstract. Concepts, arguments, inferences, images, relationships – all the ways you can put them together as components in more complex arrangements.

You understand all the ways they can fit together and all the dynamics, processes, and frameworks for thinking and perception those abstract ideas would create. That’s in every combination, as you try out each new conceptual experiment, each new arrangement of thought components.

You think so well that you don’t need to doubt yourself or check your work, because you know in thinking it that you’ve understood everything perfectly.

Step Three. Imagine that intellectual intuition in your thinking, but that intuition is in perfect tune because – as it assembles those concepts and abstract components – it’s creating its world.

In Step One – perfect intuition in daily life – you lived in a world and your intellectual intuition connected and flowed with that world in perfect harmony. In Step Two, you’re putting concepts together with perfect accuracy.

But Step Three is actually the same as Step Two. If you’re dealing with thought alone, you’re always retreating from practical life. The concepts are frameworks for thinking to be used in everyday life – that includes a grocery run, negotiating peace treaties, wiring an apartment building, and writing epochal philosophy.

The space where you do your experiments – where you see how the components fit together, try new arrangements, make new arguments, figure out new ways to infer, imagine, analyze, think.

Deleuze described the conceptual persona as something that you became when you were thinking this way, so divorced from the daily needs of your life that your personality could become the concepts you were using. Descartes truly was an idiot – absolute inward-turning – when he was planning and writing his most revolutionary work.

All the other greats likewise became the images of their own thought, at least while they were thinking so intensely.

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