Narrowing time… by bringing together the doors of time, restricting the dividing motion of the compasses - so better to measure the range of our options… pulling back on our horizons, redrawing the map of our room - so better to realise our room for manoeuvre…
By limiting the impasse of the immutability of the past.
But not forgetting it, nor rewriting it so as to forget past ills, nor remembering for the wrong reasons, as when current expediency overshadows the memorial (whose only proper appropriation is the desire never to repeat a past wrong). And by not forgetting to forgive, as memory without forgiveness is like a stone stuck forever in the gullet.
By not allowing the ideal future (the ‘future perfect’), the utopian impulse to which we are all, all to often, prey, to destroy the very real options of the present…
But retaining a position from which to judge… and from which to aim.
And by revealing the rhetoric of eternity even as it stands behind systems secular as well as sacred.
But comprehending its necessity, the gift it brings to our lives, underpinning our time (the justification of our heading in past, present and future) and our sense of value (antidote to the reign of the commodity and quantitative measure - our guide to what is not exchangeable).
…and by refusing to become lost in the eternal present of present pleasure.
The past begins here. Our attitude towards the past, our appropriation of its ‘facts’, our ‘propriation of its continuing force, payment of our debt, and our admission of its present existence as prey to our whims of interpretation…
The future stops here. Putting an end to the further continuance of a past and present condition; holding out the possibility of a break in continuity…
…but it also starts here (anti-utopian in its realism, but still active…critical and reforming, exchanging the old snare of human perfectibility for a guiding ideal at one remove, or better, a list of abuses which where better removed, a decrease of suffering with all the difficult debates on perspective that this involves…whose betterment, and at whose cost… ).
Closing time by making a choice regarding which poison it is one will water down until it can be used… to ward off the greater evil (the metaphysics of the lesser evil). So partaking of the concerned scepticism of a ‘post modern bourgeois liberal’, joining in the battle between transcendental and immanent or pragmatic strategies, whether to found anew (the fundamentalist option), or operate critically on received institutions, parties, and ideas - including religious systems… This latter the choice of most ‘intellectual’ as well as ‘commonsense’ strategies; from ‘immanent’ to ‘pragmatic’ to ‘deconstructive’… (these all working through a kind of compromise, a hermeneutic doubling-back -or ‘synthesis’- of the two poles).
Received belief is submitted to critical operations; but at the behest of which new (concealed) god… what new horizon, what ideals, motivate these critical operations? For to operate critically required a further position, an apposition, from which the agon of critique may be triggered. Behind the death of God, daggers dripping, await the new gods (of whose presence we are as yet only dimly aware).
Closing time by leaving the present utopian zone of the drinker, drug-taker and ‘shopaholic’ consumer to breathe the hot polluted air of the problems of the present… For if the machine of wealth creation requires the stimulus of personal desire, then a little strategic asceticism can make a difference on the grounds of personal well-being, the environment, energy-saving, and other forms of waste and domination (say good bye to your fellow lotus eaters…).
Consumer continence as global intervention.
Closing time. Time to leave the comfort zone, wave farewell to the fond delusions fed by subjunctive temporal displacement - and step outside…only to find we are back where we started… where we are now.
Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2008.