The Dark Side of Time

The attitude of the Gnostics toward time, and more generally, toward the world, is characterized from the first by a movement of revolt against time and the world as conceived by Hellenism and Christianity…

—Henri-Charles Puech, Gnosis and Time

Most of us think of time as a linear process, a movement from the past to the future, but has this always been so? Is time truly an arrow, or is it also a return, a circle rather than a slide toward some apocalyptic abyss? Or, what if time could reverse course, or slip off into a non-time, a time of no time, a rhizomatic cleavage in time that would lock it and its inhabitants in a zone of stasis, a place where time stood still? Have we even begun to think about time?

The earliest recorded Western philosophy of time was expounded by the ancient Egyptian thinker Ptahhotep (c. 2650–2600 BC), who said, “Do not lessen the time of following desire, for the wasting of time is an abomination to the spirit.” The Vedas, the earliest texts on Indian philosophy and Hindu philosophy, dating back to the late 2nd millennium BC, describe ancient Hindu cosmology, in which the universe goes through repeated cycles of creation, destruction, and rebirth, with each cycle lasting 4,320,000 years. Ancient Greek philosophers, including Parmenides and Heraclitus, wrote essays on the nature of time.

Plato, in the Timaeus, identified time with the period of motion of the heavenly bodies, and space as that in which things come to be. Aristotle, in Book IV of his Physics, defined time as the number of changes with respect to before and after, and the place of an object as the innermost motionless boundary of that which surrounds it.

In Book 11 of St. Augustine’s Confessions, he ruminates on the nature of time, asking, “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not.”

Continue reading

Even This? The End of America Coming Your Way

Call me insensitive but when I read in the New York Post and Guardian that Gone With The Wind is being stricken from the Orpheum’s play list for the summer because of political correctness it bugged me. Not because the movie isn’t racist, it is. No. It’s that instead of showing how Hollywood portrayed the world in this 1930’s era the hyperliberal harpies would rather it be erased, so that instead of learning from our past it seems we’re just sticking our heads in the proverbial sand and pretending it wasn’t there. There’s a fine line between educating people about the truth of an era, and then helping them make an informed judgement concerning the literature, films, theatre, music, entertainment, history, etc., and just blanket wiping it out as if we should not be allowed to know it, see it, understand it. What we’re doing is not getting rid of racism, nor are we educating our children and ourselves by forgetting this past or facing up to its dark taint on our lives by forgoing it. Instead we’re pretending that it just doesn’t exist… out of sight, out of mind. And, dam it that’s not what we should be doing, that’s not learning or teaching anything.

Continue reading