“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

A Fable of Time and Eternity

Writing is weaving, and weaving is telling a story. This evening’s readings began with pen and paper, but alas, the well ran dry and my lines became blank. So back inside I went —leaving my medieval manuscript face open on the porch chair with the sterile hollowness of a quill that it was laying flat across its plane— to unplugged my laptop from the wall in my room. I returned to the porch with it, put it on my lap, and began to print words with my very own hands. In pre-modern times, this would have been highly improbable. But not only can I print my own words, I can instantaneously send them to thousands, potentially millions of people without printing a single page. This was impossible even in modernity. The internet is the epitome of post-modernism, but so is the inability to tell a coherent story. Stories are still told, but they are so numerous and diverse that their readers become lost in an intersubjective literary litany of lies, beliefs and deceits. The sheer collective context woven by the influx of autobiography overpowers the perspectival ego’s grasp on the point, the grand narrative, the apperception from which art is supposed to be viewed. The collapse of modernity is the dissolution of the aesthetic ego. Post-modernists can no longer disembody themselves from their environment, no longer accept a gap between I and it. They can no longer pretend to have discovered an end to time. Modernity is nothing more than the historicizing and literalizing of Christianity. Eschatology for pre-modern theists involved the return of God into time from heaven to usher the graceful into eternity. In capitalism, atheists take it on faith that the future will soon arrive, the day when rationality and technology make man immortal. In post-modern times, time is no longer relevant; or rather, it is entirely relative. We have lost the ability to value a transcendent goal because the future has arrived, eternity has been discovered and it is now; but we have continued just as we did before, still with the most intoxicating, violent, and creativity squelching socioeconomic system since the medieval Church. Spiritually, we have transcended, but materially we remain chained. We are slaves to a less than integral economic monarchy, pawns in a global game of market chess played by super wealthy speculators. They play even while millions still time-trapped by modernity march proudly to the drum of reason, praying to progress and praising the promises of pride. Capitalism has preached the free-market, and the people have heard. They are free to own, free to trade, so the story goes. And yet, and yet, behind the scenes the strings are pulled to make the puppets dance that distract the crowd while the markets are manipulated. There is no freedom in the market because everything is pre-conditioned by the owners. So how are we to move beyond the lacking of post-modernity, its unsuccessful practical application on social, political and economic fronts, and into something positive which effects material change? Writing our own stories sure hasn’t seemed to help, at least not yet. Maybe it’s because we never know when to begin, nor when to end. Beginning the story that I thought I was going to tell now seems obviously impossible. I have failed to explain how it was that I got here to this spot, to the point at which the self I now describe began to recount his own origins. I went from paper to keyboard, from solemn pages to an infinitely connected screen, from modernity to post-modernity. But what’s next? Eternity is now, the future has arrived, and so the only place to look for answers is origin itself.







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