There’s a lot in this world about which I am not stupid: practically, I’ve navigated life more or less effectively so far.  But more and more often I notice am annoyed that there is someone at the table who professes to know more about [X] than I do.   And the more I am expected to know, the more I question what I think I know.  Maybe this is why I am enjoying the math classes: I’m allowed to be stupid* there.  I am supposed to be stupid there.

WhiteboardWithConcert

Years ago, a professor was describing the idea of “lines of flight” from 1000 Plateaus, and he said (loosely paraphrased) that it means running headlong through a mountain rather than intentionally trying to go around it.  His example was a 3¢ bank fee that you disagreed with.  Rather than protesting and not paying it, which would ultimately benefit the bank, you should write a separate check for the 3¢ every time the fee is due.  If we all wrote separate checks for these tiny fees, we could cripple the bank by costing it more money to process the fee than the fee itself is worth.  Don’t avoid the fee.  Force everyone to look at the fee in excruciating detail.  Maybe this is what I’m doing with my own mathematical stupidity: running headlong into it and gazing on every horrifying crevice.  To what end, I don’t know.

All of this to say: I have finally passed MATH 140: Introduction to Mathematical Analysis.  It took me three tries, and I wasn’t entirely sure that I had passed until final grades were posted.  I’m registered to take Calculus in the fall.  Also, I’m getting better at finding textbook deals, so the book this time was only$180, and I bought the Student Solutions Manual up front, too–that might have saved me last semester, if only it had been “required” and not “recommended.”

The velocity of my stupidity is picking up steam.  Maybe even accelerating?

*My use of stupidity is loosely based on what I vaguely remember of Derrida and Ronell.  Probably stupidly misinterpreted.

One thought on “Stupid velocity

  1. This is my method exactly. I’ve been writing one mixed genre piece all of my life. It is part memoire, part fiction, part philosophy, and though I’ve been working on it for nearly forty-five years, the best of it is either still in my head or yet to be discovered/invented.

    Not to be precious, precocious, or pretentious, I simply cannot settle for anything that doesn’t at least approximate intentions and motivations I’ve cultivated all of these years.

    Believe, me, the writing is improving. I’ve a good writing group that includes four other writers. We meet once a week and they are very encouraging; flattering even.

    I’m also a fan of Ronell. Does this notion of stupidity come from her book? Accelerationism makes me nervous. Do you know if the concept is related to Bataille’s sense of excess? Recently I imagined that more attention needs to be paid for what I call ‘legitimate mistakes’, which I think are grievously undervalued by hell-bent-for-leather anarchists, but not by those who insist, as you do here, as running headlong through the mountain.

    Today I wrote a poem which I think denotes all of this. I call it Apology of a Faun

    having visited
    more artificial feeders
    after release
    fast acquirers did not
    live as long in the wild

    Best wishes! I look forward to reading your book on ‘homeless’ libraries….

    Don

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