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Techne and Teleology

Walking your path requires attention to action and purpose.

Photo by @gcalebjones on Unsplash.com

Techne is how you do, what you do, when you do what you do. Teleology is why you do what you do, when you do, what you do. Attention to what you are doing in the present moment is required for performance.

It is both easy and true to say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single stop. If that is the case, why not make the best step possible. Focus on one good step at a time, and the journey will be better.

At the same time, one good step in the wrong direction can accomplish more of what you do not want than a careless one.

As important as care in the moment is commitment to the path. Call it the north star, the horizon, or your journey, it is the why behind the step you take. It is the motivation that calls you to put intention behind each step.

Techne is defined by its close attention to detail. We are aiming for perfection in this one act. Teleology is too large to submit to perfection, which is why it can be so difficult to move from a path to the path.

There is a seeming paradox here that helps resolve the challenge we face. Finding the path can seem like such a profound commitment that we put off making a decision. In reality, the path can, and almost certainly will change. What matters is the choice. Choose to make a path into the path and your steps can be taken with care.

Our lives are a combination of minute actions, taken with care, and a purpose behind both the action and its motivation. Some serve a religious path, some a philosophical path and some a political one. What it is matters less than the degree to which you choose to make it your path.

Precise techne in service of a teleology is required for a life with purpose. Being born into a religion will not suffice. At some point you must decide whether or not to follow that path, and how you will make your way.

As challenging as it may seem to practice the art of techne, it can lead us astray if we fail to choose a reason for doing so. We get caught thinking that we must choose the right path, but there is no path, only techne in service of teleology.

Those without belief have a hard time acting, and are easily convinced to adopt someone else's definition of the one true path. If there is any rule we can trust it is that those who feel they know the right path for you, are not dealing with teleology. Instead, their techne is to persuade others that they know the way. In this manner, they distract themselves from pain of acknowledging that they are lost.

There is always time to change paths. To quote Led Zeppelin, "yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you are on." Techne without teleology is too much energy without purpose. Teleology without techne is too much belief without enough action.

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