Philosophical clownery of late modernity

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3 min read

Is there an old giving way to a new? Are we at the end and at the beginning of an epoch? What is an epoch?

I sense we are at the point of change or we are in a period of change. But change is almost guaranteed as a human experience. Well, that is my assumption, that our experience is one where we exist in an environment that is unknowable. That doesn’t mean we can’t know it. But the unknowability, unpredictability of the context in which conscious things exist is an experience of change. Beings managing, acting in response to change, changing (or being compelled to change) or resisting change.

Seven AM. Bob Dylan playing on Spotify.

Stabilized by the cycles of daily life, the routines, the sequenced scripts, the habituations; revolving experiences. Amongst the unpredictability and unknowability, I need the drumbeat of time, multiple beats, rhythms: onbeat, offbeat. And out of time, at times. Time is played out only through the collective ticks and chimes of the global clock. The hand progresses, turning linear mechanisms into rotation, or drawing on the resonances of a crystal or (sub) atomic particles. Repetitions. Listen and repeat.

We can pretend that these cycles are not there or are so long that they are linear. That they don’t fall back on themselves, that we are making progress, that we are moving forward instead of going back and around and back into ourselves and things. In a Newtonian universe circular motion is a particular case of linear mechanisms, it is just the linear ‘trapped’ in orbit, in a loop, restrained to a point at the centre. Reverse this: circular motion, repetition, cycles are the generality of linear mechanisms and simple (first order – this causes that etc) causality. Oscillation is at the core of an interpretation of being. A wave-particle duality.

Kinder Scout, Derbyshire, UK. Christmas 2019-2020

The preservation of things is the preservation of those iterations, because it is the preservation of those cycles and iterations that preserves things. A tree only falls in the forest if we are witness to it. Is this true? It is and it isn’t. Should we use a colon or semicolon (or a comma or a full stop)? Ambiguous, there are alternatives, that may not be equal, there are other possible worlds. But those worlds we must make and bring into the world by remaking them, by believing in them. They become ritualized. We perform their existence. We forget that they come into the world amongst a world of possibilities. At least this is a characteristic of the passing epoch. Yes, there is epochal change. One where we have ignored the circularity, the recursion and concerned ourselves with the properties of and causes of things rather than the repetition of things. (it is not the things themselves but the thing and its representation). We have tried to ignore the paradox.

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