A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

The Now of Then
Saturday, November 26, 2016






Gertrude Stein famously said of her home town of Oakland , “There is no there there.” I have been thinking about this under a different light and from an altogether different perspective involving time more than space.

My memory is very good so I have cognition of stuff that happened to me when I was very young. And when young, when one thinks, “Today,” “Now,” one rarely thinks of an in-the-future, “Now,”or “Today.” And specifically one never thinks of a situation in a far off future as there are no coordinates to base oneself being in.

But it is astounding to do it backward and see-saw. By this I mean to look at myself in a mirror now (I have one on the wall nearby as I write this) and remember that first incident when I may have been around 6 that I looked at myself in my mother’s bedroom armoire mirror and thought (in some rudimentary way), “I am that boy in the mirror. I am me.” And then to look at myself in the mirror now thinking about that then and being aware on how that distance in time has been compressed to a quantum now (quantum, the correct definition of it is of the very small!)

I now have the luxury and the fantastic ability to look now in my now and remember the now of then. Obviously there is one catch and that is that this process can only procede (precede?) in the direction of the past with the help of that past memory in my present memory, and not forwards.

And of course there is that stunning idea that all that time has transpired and “here I am.” But if one remembers Borges' obsession with Heraclitus and how it is impossible to dip into the water of a river twice without going from an instant now to a future instant now one can put reserved definition to that present now.

If all the above seems confusing my only point in this present endeavour is to meditate on the fact that as I look forward, I can now imagine a future (not in perfection but one of statistical possibility) and that I could not have done that when I was 6.

Sartre said that we cannot find ourselves to know who we are. We are always in a process of becoming (change). And yet I must affirm that the boy I saw when I was 6 reflected in that mirror and the old man I see now somehow are essentially the same person.

Aquí. Hoy –Jorge Luís Borges


Ya somos el olvido que seremos.
El polvo elemental que nos ignora
y que fue el rojo Adán y que es ahora
todos los hombres, y que no veremos.

Ya somos en la tumba las dos fechas
del principio y el término. La caja,
la obscena corrupción y la mortaja,
los triunfos de la muerte, y las endechas.

No soy el insensato que se aferra
al mágico sonido de su nombre.
Pienso con esperanza en aquel hombre

que no sabrá que fui sobre la tierra.
Bajo el indiferente azul del cielo,
esta meditación es un consuelo.

Here, Today – Jorge Luís Borges

Already we are the oblivion we shall be—
the elemental dust that does not know us,
the dust that once was red Adam and now is
all men, the dust we shall not see.
Already we are the two dates on the headstone,
the beginning and the end. The coffin,
the obscene decay and the shroud,
the death rites and the dirges.
I am not some fool who clings
to the magical sound of his own name.
I think, with hope, of that man
who will never know I walked the earth.
Beneath the blue indifference of heaven,
I find this thought consoling.



     

Previous Posts
Grace Kelly's Neck

Blanca Rosa de un Jardín Borrado

Sirius - that Dog Star Dog

A Pant Brush - William Blake

So That Our Hands Would Meet - Jorge Luís Borges

Not at an Arm's Length

Arrival - No Zap-Gun Science Fiction

Potato & Leek Soup - Not

Manrique - Detective Steven Prenzl & His Pepper Sp...

Mistresse Mary, be you ficke?



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7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16