Article published (with some slight modifications) on the NUDE magazine, issue 3 (Cape Town based).
Free improvisation on the subject “past, present, and future”.
We often believe that time flows along a straight line, which stretches through the endless development of human species. Any moment that is concluded, will belong to the past, any imagined projection or expectation, will be called future, and then, the amazing, deep-reaching « live-perception », will be the here and now. In the specific of our individual lives, there are progressive stages, obstacles to be conquered, and structures to be built, which pertain to our very person. Often, however, what we feel inside, and what we experience, is different, and it does not fit the linear pattern we are deemed to walk upon, as if in nature linearity and predictability were the dominant features. Yet there is perfection in an harmonious chaos.
We are emotional universes, where senses and expression easily take unexpected turns, shades, and density, which go beyond what is estimated to be good or bad, true or false, but pertain to a dense, diverse, and ever-changing reality, material and immaterial at the same time. I believe we are extended beings, whose time (happening) expands, shrinks, and provides us with different tools and accesses. It is up to us to sharpen our feeling (one of the many words to define our “intuition”) and to emancipate ourselves from a linear conception of experience. Many civilisations have already thought of our existence in time as scattered and simultaneous, cyclic and encompassing, but the rationale of the capitalist system does not accept multiplicity, but seeks unicity, exclusion, definition… In other words, control. What is defined, quantified, is controllable, as it is traceable and it provides the parameters of accountability. On the other hand, what is diverse, is unpredictable, is fertile, and ever changing, fermenting, evolving in disparate ways, irrespective of a pre-fixed notion of “good” or “bad”, and pertinent to our multiple layer of existence.
A Western conception time, where I was born in…, I am doing this now, and I will do that then, is coherent and compliant with the overall system of hierarchisation of our person and space, which necessarily will operate on a scale of value, and to a correspondent notion of justness. You might tell me then, “Luckily we refer to scales of values, else we wouldn’t be able to take the least decision!” But what are the referents? What are the parameters we refer to when looking at “our time”, or in other words our life looked upon from a temporal perspective?
From my point of view, present, past and future are fictive envelopes of our social (constructed) projection. I believe that our space-time existence is way more flexible and layered than what we may like to think. The mainstream temporal conception is tailored to a market economy, and to individualist societies; ephemeral moments cumulate to ensure significant achievements. There is my present, my past, and my future. Acts that fill those envelops, are individual acts, given by a set of variables that depend on my person, which are limited to a circumscribed space and time and depend on my wish. Work hard and you will get it! Material achievement and motion has never been as much a milestone to our self-perception, a faith comparable to the one whom we (some amongst us) granted to the Christian god not too long ago. A rhetoric to avoid the frightening acknowledgement of our relativity and lack of control, as it is understood in materialist terms. The unknown is indeed the element which scares our species the most. Power systems work on the axes of fear and desire, fear of the unknown (first on the list is death) and desire of acceptance and recognition.
So, in other words, past, present, future, are just another powerful conceptualisation of an individual/collective existence. A comfortable approximation of our me-centred perceptions, taken to its highest levels by the current capitalist philosophy and system, as an optimal discourse of universal truth.
The monopoly of truth is a privileged mean to undermine the potential of a multiplicity and govern it. A multiplicity that often experiences meaningful moments beyond our personal, well designed “times”, where expression does not align with our time-space coherent arrangements, but expands to bear unexpected fruits, for those who dare exiting a dual interpretation of existence, ruled by the conflicting opposites. This implies that there is no success or failure, no important or unimportant, no true or false, no here and there, no before and after, but there are just moments which are miraculous conjuncture of variables, irreverent to our effort to contain, define, quantify, align, but existing independently from us and in accordance with a collective shared dynamicity.
So, mix, reinvent, give, be fragile, be strong, open up, defy, criticize, move, be positive and ready for this amazing upcoming event which defies the boundaries of control, challenges moral constipations, and welcomes the plurality of us all!