Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

Time Beyond Time

Posted on | November 29, 2010 | No Comments

My last two posts on this topic discussed anachronism as a representation of the present which leaves out key elements or, or as a retelling of the past tinted by the visible traces of the passage of time in an environment. Yet anachronism does not only concern the past or the present, but the future as well.

The reinterpretation we make of the past depends on the remains that are left, on the value we give to each of these; on the energy we spend to unearth them. Brought to its inevitable conclusion, each lived moment becomes a historic moment, a moment were history is made. Through the documents we keep and those we cast away, the words we write, the choices we make, we constantly carve down a vision of our history which we try unceasingly to project upon future generations. Not only our present history, but our past as well, which is continuously filtered – the choices we make cast a light on our motives.

By a strange paradox we then try to seize time and cast it beyond time, in an unalterable state, while we know quite well how futile such a gesture is. Tempus fugit velut umbra – like shadows, time escapes us. The instant flees as soon as we become conscious of it and can subsequently be seized upon and rewritten by others.

Time in fact cannot be grasped as a whole. Somewhat like one of Gödel’s theorem, our concept of time is necessarily incomplete. To seize the phenomenon in its entirety we would need the ability to find a vantage point in an area “beyond” time, this same imaginary state where we try to carve for posterity a reflection of our present perceived image.

Every lived moment becomes anachronism. The usual causality metaphors which are so useful in daily life becomes an obstacle when we try to envision history or predict its course since in fact, we create it constantly. The personal creative gesture (past, present or future) should then become our only milestone, the only one at least we can effectively control since it is, well, personal. To each person comes the responsibility of creating his or her own history.


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

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