Issue #05 August 2017

Other Than The Present: A Schema for Time

If you were to ask someone at random for their theory of time, I suspect you are as likely to get the answer “time is an illusion” as you are to hear “time is really the accumulating sum of physical changes in the world”, or “there is really only the present moment”. We tend to accept at face value a split between our subjective experience of time and the objectivity that intrudes violently when the alarm clock wakes us from a pleasant dream, we discover we are late for work and we miss the train. As Jean Baudrillard wrote, “chronometric precision is par excellence the dimension of practical constraints, of society as external to us, and of Death.” No wonder then, that the call to simply “be in the present” is so attractive. If we accept that only the present truly exists, that past events are gone forever and the future is never here, then we can not only attune deeply to enjoying the fullness of this moment, but we have a pressure-gauge to manage the anxiety and stress of an intensely time-structured world. And, isn’t this rigid system of impersonal time and its supposed objectivity at the root of so many of the horrors of modernity? It is the distillation of the threat of smooth functioning machines which will render our messy, fleshy ways obsolete; it is the great chorus of false hopes for the future that ideologues and advertisers can always seem to make us sing, right up to the gates of the work-camp, or to a life of debt and regret? If only time — the great lie — could be abolished, it is thought, then we could all exist where we truly are, in the present. Surely then, having come to re-centre on the tangible, the felt, the alive, the authentic, the madness would end.

Moholy-Nagy Laszlo “Construction” (1922)


August 2017


Hope Speaks: Eagleton, King Lear, and Star Wars

by Jedd Cole

A Tale of Two Socrates: Part Two

by Justin Richards

Other Than The Present: A Schema for Time

by Brendan De Paor-Moore

Remembering our Limits: The Ritual of Taizé as a Gesture of Humanity

by Tollef Graff Hugo

Adorno’s Negativity: Suffering Devoid of Sense, Sense Without Suffering

by Timofei Gerber