Posted by: glue | January 21, 2009

Physics of Now-Time

Flash reason provides a means to craft significations that survive and proliferate in the information sprawl of an Internet public sphere.  The prosthesis augments the human sensorium to the point of sublimity, requiring a commensurate rhetorical skillset.

Updating the Veduta

Updating the Veduta

The new common sense, the new language, called for by the modern prince involves acquiring a taste for discord, disjunction, a breakdown of all the old correspondences.  The resources of flash reason already exist, ready to be extracted from the arts and sciences of our own tme.  When the quantum, dreamwork, Cezanne’s passage, Joyce’s wordplay and the like are common sense, we will be in full electracy.  The theories and forms adequate to the new technologies have already been invented, in other words.  There is, for example, a commonality between Einstein’s theories of relativity and abstract painting.  Virilio’s warning about now-time has been anticipated in our physics and painting.  If you were on the train imagined in Einstein’s thought experiment, approaching the speed of light, and looked out the window, the world would look like abstract art.

Logic of Color

Logic of Color

“Space between objects is truncated, and figures begin to look two-dimensional, less rounded, and take on the appearance of flat playing cards. . . . To passengers in the train, the interval between events in the past –- in the rear –- behind the train, and events in the future –- in front –- ahead of the train, appears to shorten.  The past and future, separated by the present, seem to approach each other, but this is an illusion. The present moment outside the train, the now –- what Monet called instantaneity  — is actually dilating so as to include both  more of the past and more of the future.  At the speed of leight the scene at the rear of the train fuses with the scene in front! The words ‘ahead’ and ‘rear’ lose their meaning and space outside the train contracts so severely that these two spatial directions are in contact with each other. . . .  Now Cezanne would most likely point out that for the passengers on this train determining if time were passing for events outside the train would be impossible.  As in his landscapes and still lifes, proper time (from the German eigenzeit, literally translated as ‘owntime’), blurs to encompass one motionless everlasting now. Time as measured by change does not exist.  Einstein said, ‘You have to accept the idea that subjective time with its emphasis on the now has no objective meaning. . . the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent’” (Leonard Shlain, Art and Physics).

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