Posts Tagged ‘time

12
Sep
08

this house is a bass drum

response to “never in step,” below

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We are always drawn to ponder circumstances that differ from our present situation.  It is somehow fundamental, in this historical moment, to imagine other existences, to wonder how the world–or one’s own life–might have been different, or might someday be.  Sometimes the thought even reveals its meta-imaginary character:  it comes as the blatant realization of a new a priori, that what is was never meant to be, it only just happens to be.  Only upon reflection does it appear that the universe has a “plan” for any of us; this idea is imposed on our perception of “the future” only after it has had its historical genesis in the minds of humans, not the other way around.  Freed of this basic constraint upon imagination–namely, the tendency to fail to imagine the world differently–we arrive at what philosophers call arbitrariness, which is at the heart of all fiction in that it allows the mind to identify, reduce and manipulate basic components of everyday-reality-as-perceived-by-human-beings.  Civilization itself, in all of its constituent dimensions–material, infrastructural, political, relational, mythological–is free to be designed from the ground up (or the top down, or both, or in some other possible manner of architecture).  Once mind has the building blocks of the world at its creative disposal, imagination comes to be defined by its pregnancy with other, possible, worlds.  This is why, for example, so much of (what I’d call) the truly exciting philosophical thinking of the twentieth century occurred in the primarily “literary” genre of science fiction.

But I digress…

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