presentness as immaterial

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

Spinning writes

Does time exist? Apparently not, except as a measurement. Just as the existence, which is accepted use only, of an inch. If you measure from here to here, its an inch. Its also a nanosecond.

I like this, space measured in time scales, a practice usually used by astronomers dealing with vast distances. It makes more sense to talk about the distance from the earth to the nearest star in terms of light years rather than in meters, but really, we “mean” the same thing. Yet this presents a problem: the question of reference. If you wonder at Hubble deepfield images, then what are you really interpreting through the eyes: a paradox, because the object in the image may not even be around, because the time it takes light to travel across a distance measured in, say, a billion light years, will take that much time to reach us. This is a cool element of perception and the time-lag of sight.

Even that red bird at 100m is always ahead of me by just a flash of time, perhaps a nanosecond. Pheneomenologically, therefore, everything is “moving” in a context of light travel.

I’m not intending to be overtly weird or philosophical here. What I’m trying to do is set up a conditional tension between spatial awareness, which, of course, is perfectly real, and temporal awareness, also real, and image (physicality), which may or may not be “present.”

The object, the artifact, in other words, is an anchor, an agent that fixes me in a certain context that I’m bred into. Thus the gang member will disagree with the police cheif’s choice to jail him: I grew up in this space-time/light-time. Don’t toss me in prison: get me out of this “place.”

The house I see, a blue house with a yellow garage door, is fixable. But as I mark it, this blue house with the yellow garage door, we are both moving, even though we’re standing perfectly still. This is a continuous and necessary illusion. Spatially, I’m moving through space against a more distance object, and the earth is spinning, as are the atamic structures which form us: and the string never stop vibrating. Yet my impression of space is “fixed.” I’m not moving. Moreover, in terms of presentness, I never “got” to the position of observation: verbally (a way of alphabetizing memory), I “came to.” That was in “past time,” a lost piece of “progression” or existence, through time (and space). I can only 1) remember my insignificant travel 2) and prove that I “came to” by looking for footsteps in the mud. Thus space, time, and memory become profound at every passing instance.

Conclusion: existence is a constant (not inconstant) act of cognition and memory. Existence is a big and dynamic map I constantly create and draw.

See also Wanderlust for further examination.

One response to “presentness as immaterial”

  1. gibb says:

    Though I did try to simplify it, I cannot deny that time is the most important thing on my mind right now. Past and estimated future is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc., all the way through centuries. Personal past and future is limited to at the utmost, a single century if we’re lucky. It is when future loses some of these units of measure that we ponder its meaning less, and become desperate. When the highest unit of measure we may use is months, or worse, hours and down to nothing until there is no future existing at all, even in its sole hold on hope and its use as an adjective.

    You said, “Thus space, time, and memory become profound at every passing instance.” Never more than when they are no more.