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Rated: 18+ · Prose · Other · #2314730
Further adventures in Deleuze land.
We must continue. If there is anything else we can do be sure to let me know. Send me a memo. A sticky note on the iPad screen. Text me. @me. I will respond in a timely manner.

I’m not holding my breath.

It is a gigantic sheet of paper, isn’t it? A writer’s dream, a writer’s nightmare. But an origamist can do something with it. They can do all the various foldings of it and produce a swan, or the goose. While they’re at it and wrestling that sheet into a recognizable form, we’re moving on to a new metaphor. Only I can’t remember what this one is. 1 It tries to make sense of time and the passing thereof. Stretching the linearity of it to cover the sheet. While our origamist is folding.

There are complications in our cognition of this passing of time. The most obvious of those is what to do with the present. I suspect physicists generally do not consider this broader and narrower view of time. They don’t have all that much time for it and just basically need to get on with things. So they leave it up to the philosophers and other cranks on the margins to fight for the leftovers. Those jackals and vultures. What should we do with the present, then? The scientists are disturbed. The present. The present? Oh, you mean the now()? Hang on. The now? Do we still need it? Anyone? No? Well, look, we’re all rather busy with the what’s next, so if you want the now, here, take it. It’s our gift to you. See what you can make of it. Go on then.

And I can’t help thinking this was a mistake. I suspect those physicists had a lot more on the matter of now but in their impatience they neglected to also pass that on. They made assumptions about philosophers, figured what can possibly go wrong with now? And so we, the general populace, are left with unsightly structures all over the place and these get in the way of the origamists. Bones, hair, bits of rotting skin and flesh and it’s all stinking up the room where everything takes place and the origamists are having none of it. They’re gone.

What I think is the scientists have done serious mathematical work on the now and this is what they neglected to pass on. What they gifted the cranks and the quacks and the philosophers was the present, unadorned with the numbers and the symbols and the invocations. The bare metaphors only and here we are now with the incomprehensible. A proliferation of metaphors unhinged from the Platonic universe whence it came. These do explain a lot. What they don’t do is enlighten. In fact, they weigh down. An artificial gravitas. A well that collects metaphor. A few magical x‘s and y‘s, an equals here, a square root there, would have made so much more sense. Now it just feels like we don’t really know anything about now. We’re just making things up as time passes.

For instance, the past, so we’re told, is virtual, yeah? And it gets actualized by the present. The past exists, but unlike a few other things that also exist, the past is virtual. By virtual it’s as if they mean it is virtually real, it virtually exists, only not actually. It gets actualized by the now(). But worse, it all gets actualized by the now(), all of it. The memory, the old photo in the box in the basement, last month’s salary of which so little is left. Everything, actualized.

So do you see why the scientists are baffled? What have you gone and done to now now? 2 We… look you can’t just throw words at it. Now is a delicate piece of machinery. You do that kind of brutality to it and who knows what can happen. We have, you know, an edifice for now in the Platoverse and you are seriously undermining it. If it collapses all we’ll be left with is then and then what? Just… carefully hand it back and we’ll see what we can do to fix it. Good god. And someone please find the origamists. Speak to their union, see if we can get them back.

That’s it. I’m ending that thread right here.

Something about all this wordly salady thing is still compelling. I mean, these were very intelligent and well-read men, and so to dismiss their thought would likely be a very serious error. On the other hand other very intelligent and well-read men have done just that. What are we to take from this? I think the best approach is to try to understand what they are trying to get across. Yes, it goes against the grain. Mainly because it often feels as if obfuscation was the whole point, but when one attempts to think about the problems that they tackled then one quickly gets the feeling that one is very much over one’s head. Consider this strange thing we call time, think on the passing of it and then go ahead and tell me you understand. You know what’s going on. And then please explain it to me because I don’t. It is such a small thing really. We all know what’s going on here. But do we? What happens when the present passes into the past and is replaced by the future? What is that? I mean, what is that!?

1  Genetics. It’s genetics.
2  Which is where the South African concept of I’ll be done now-now comes from.

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