Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The paradox of time...episodic or narrative?

..Is time episodic or narrative in nature? Often at times like this, in the 'between: month of August when the dog days are here I cannot decide. When I am the political activist it's clearly narrative . I feel my political activity lead inexorably towards the judgement day of the next election.

But when I am being rather than doing it's subjective nature is clearly seen. Yet the very act of observation destroys the sense of being . It is episodic at this time of being. As I write today the words exist outside a narrative of time and as my words form and I transmit them onto the timeline I sense it. Being; rather than doing lies in the duration of the mind sensing itself in the moment. Yet the problem is still how does a thinking thing think of itself. Both Henri Bergson and Einstein thought of subjective time yet fundamentally disagreed on its nature. 

Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway captures the episodic nature of time yet set it in a world of regulated quantitive time. It is the episodic nature of time that gives the soul and the depth to our bring. There are those who exist across time and other who exist purely in it. Timelines can be perceived as linear or irregular. It is our minds and conditioning that determine it. I have long seen the year as beginning in September . It's a legacy of year after year of academic study. The last bank holiday of August is for me the barrier between the end of one year and another. While rhe week between Christmas Eve and New Year Eve a vast week outside of space and time. There is a joy to Christmas Eve yet New year's Eve is a time of troubling reflection. When I think in a linear fashion about time I miss the metaphor and metonymy of so much awareness. I miss the now and live in a future time which one day will be gone. When I am episodic in thought I see richness, irony and connection. The Christian cultural construction of creation and end of days steals so much from us. The Eastern time of repeating cycles or spirals if time is so much richer.

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?”

The activist in me is linear in time yet the phisopher is episodic . But the key to it are the lens my mind uses and the duration of the mind as it considers. Being and doing are simply the product of the mind asking the question ..what is, is? Time like God is in the grammar and we are the creators of that grammar. Oh well I find myself on the X6 in Ponradawe as I write and I sensed episodic time and escaped narrative time. But both were entirely subjective in nature.As I glance around the bus I see several people asleep. For each of us here the journey from Ystradgynlais was entirely different both quantitatively and qualitatively...listen to TS Eliot and consider the Paradox.....

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