Eternity is in love with the productions of time — William Blake
I am going to attempt to explain the meaning of Jean Gebser’s phrase “ever-present origin” (which is also the title of the English translation of his book) and how this pertains to his idea of “time-freedom”, which is, after all, the essential meaning of the term “transcendental”.
This is a bit tricky, because of the paradoxical nature of the relationship between time and eternity, or the finite and the infinite, or the mediate and the immediate, or all forms of dualism generally. But if we manage to pull it off, it will also reveal the fuller meaning of what William Blake means by “Eternity is in love with the productions of time” or by “Eternity in the hour”. In fact, it would make the sometimes enigmatic and complex mythology of Blake’s “mystical” poetry much more accessible, as well as much else besides.
“Language is wiser than the one who speaks it. The living language of people always overpowers the thinking of individual man who assumes he could master it” — Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
Popular discourse very often encodes “hidden” social and spiritual dynamics long before those dynamics become fully conscious or articulate. Take the phrase “losing the plot”. Everything we’ve discussed in The Chrysalis pertaining to the “culture of narcissism” (Christopher Lasch), the end of the Grand (or Master) Narrative (post-modernity), the crumbling metaphysical foundations of the modern mind and the corresponding breakdown of the mental-rational (or perspectival) consciousness structure (Jean Gebser), the disintegration of the personality and character structure of Modern Man (Rosenstock-Huessy), or “post-truth”, “post-rational”, “post-Enlightement”, and so on, is effectively condensed and encoded in the simple phrase “losing the plot”. All I’ve done in The Chrysalis is, in a sense, try to unwrap what is more deeply encoded by the phrase “losing the plot”.
We find ourselves, today, in a most peculiar situation, and a very dangerous one. To the “conquest of space” through the technologies of space that allow for the reshaping of space, we are now pursuing the conquest of time, through technologies of control of time and evolution — biotechnology, genetic engineering, and so on. Into this mix of technologies of space and of time, if we also add psychotechnologies — that is, technologies of psychological and social management and control — we have a very menacing correlation of developments. In effect, “we” are in the position to shape and reshape what we call “reality” at will.
We are claiming for ourselves powers over space, time, and reality that were formerly reserved only for God or the gods, and for that reason, too, I find some types of present research into neurology and consciousness quite disturbing in its motives and rationales.
It’s 2018. Traditionally, this is the day I should wish you all a “happy and prosperous New Year”, which I’m not going to do. Instead, I’ll borrow a theme from The Game of Thrones which I think is more appropriate: “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come”. You’ll need to develop some measure of resilience — a warrior’s spirit, if you will — if you’re not going to fold under the increasing stresses and pressures of the double-movement.
Today, I want to continue with the discussion of “Factor X” that I raised in the previous post — the mysterious “something unknown” doing we know not what, as Sir Arthur Eddington once phrased it. It’s the uneasiness about Factor X that underlies the quantum physicist’s motto “Shut up and calculate!”. Factor X is in play today, and I want to show in what way it is in play.