Whereas learning is always directed by predetermined and measurable ends, studying is about pure means, about exploring, wandering, getting lost in thought, forgetting what one knows so that one can discover that the world exists otherwise than the way that one knows it.
Studying is, I think, the educational equivalent of flirting. When flirting with another, I and that other sway between “we can, we cannot.” Each gesture, touch, or phrase proposes potential as it withdraws into impotential. We are neither committed nor uncommitted to each other; we are not not-committed. Like flirting, studying is a contradictory feeling of exhilaration and dismay, anxiety and excitement, the pleasure of exploration and the pain of the unfamiliar. Studying can’t be graded or measured; it is concerned only with use and not with exchange. Studying isn’t only a wandering about, however, it’s also a fleeing from, a stateless state of fugitivity, as Stefano Harney and Fred Moten put it. Harney and Moten more radically politicize studying by linking it to the undercommons, the label that they give to the spaces and relations that resist capitalist enclosures. In the undercommons we study together, bonded by our mutual indebtedness, or what Butler would call our mutual and inescapable dependency.
Derek R. Ford – Communist Study p. 9