Thursday, May 07, 2009

Techne as Strategy

Wikipedia defines techne, or techné, as distinguished from episteme, as
"etymologically derived from the Greek word τέχνη (Ancient Greek: IPA: [tékʰnεː], Modern Greek [ˈtexni] (help·info)) which is often translated as craftsmanship, craft, or art. It is the rational method involved in producing an object or accomplishing a goal or objective. The means of this method is through art. Techne resembles episteme in the implication of knowledge of principles, although techne differs in that its intent is making or doing, as opposed to "disinterested understanding."

I've often told my associates that getting things done means not just getting things done, but also getting things done in style. In the legal profession, legal work is more about method and form. Substance is something lawyers do not have enough control of; a witness can only testify on what he sees, which is a given. But, how that witness unravels his story is the stuff good lawyers are made of. Any person can draft a contract, but only lawyers can make a good contract, one that closes all loose openings where future law suits can germinate. It's all about style, form, and method.

Yet, style, form and method are not overnight creations. In a law office, style, form and method are products of experience. Law school simply does not provide these tools because it is an environment were beating the exams is the only game. Style, form and method are not measurable and nobody gets extra credit for them, except in real life.

The word techne loops it all in. It is the method of working while learning, and a learning that works. Work/Learn. Learn/Work. It never ends. It raises the bar of greatness for all time.

(To be continued)