The Temporal Bubble

I want to revisit an old idea, which is this idea of human a kind of human creativity underlying our sense of reality — I think I called it a “tautology”. But here, I want to subject that idea of development to the condition, basically the condition of “sustained labor”: I want to think about, not the overturning of a niave “work-centric” view of the world, but rather the way in which work, and all that it entails, can be sustained. What I envision here is a kind of “temporal bubble”.

I mean, it’s not all that elaborate an idea. Basically, it derives from the notion of how work must overcome certain moments of disturbance and desolation, and yet remain work. I have a nuanced understanding of “work”, I have in mind, something that is “immediate” in some sense, that is “tangible”, metaphorically, that is not structural or cultural, that does not ask us to wait in order to find out. It is something that requires us to do something, some activity that we may have to follow or oblige. The opposite of work is not laziness or inactivity, but rather, a kind of non-immediacy, a showmanship maybe, nihilism, and so forth. So it’s defined in a very general sense. We are always drifting back and forth between engagement and non-engagement, and the temporal bubble is the way in which we can remain engaged while taking into account this non-engagement.

As an example, let’s reconsider relativity. The story we told last time, last entry, is incomplete, because it does not adequately explain the “recovery” that relativity makes. That is, it is indeed true that relativity, I believe, includes a moment of terrible doubt, a kind of sublime moment when causality is entirely thrown into question. I mean, it feels as though, for example, light can anticipate the measurer, that light has a mind of its own, and reacts differently according to how it’s measured. Measurement, or physical activity in general, ceases to take place in a “straightfoward” world, straightfoward in some relative sense. But it also recovers, in particular by introducing the idea of a “frame of reference”. I think that the frame of reference is sort of like a “bubble”. It is a momentary lapse in time, a bubble when causality is suspended. Physical activities still take place, within this bubble, but one has to consider the totality of the bubble, and adjust accordingly. It is a kind of “limited holism”, rather than an absolute one, that allows work to mostly carry on.

… now, all this could be relative, I mean, not in the sense of “relativistic” but rather in the sense that we do not have any absolute things in mind when using words like, “straightfoward”, “causality”, “suspension”, “bubble”, “holism”, and so on. That is, it is indeed true that nothing is immediate, and that all work requires, presumes, a holstic picture of the world, and that we never experience time linearly. But despite aknowledging this, we still want to make use of the above words because we are talking about a bubble relative to some established view of the world.

I want to give a few other examples… examples I feel are of the utmost importance here. Because I feel there to be a kind of blur of logic here, when dealing with this issue. Speaking personally, I have wrestled with this idea for quite some hours now, and I feel it to be more resistant, in some way — a cause of ENORMOUS DIFFICULTY. I look back and consider, as naive, any possibility of straightfowardly “applying” this idea. I find it hard to develop because the things that we end up with, the stability of the finality of our reality — we are not dealing with that. But rather, we’re dealing with a kind of obliging — a kind of effort to sustain. I have in mind, when I say “obliging”, the way in which Conrad says that Kurtz obliges — gives in, surrenders, etc., to the forces of darkness. And this, to me, is the story of Kurtz — one who wanted to keep on working no matter what, one who refused to ive into the desolation of the jungle and the disarray of the colony — all the pretense. It makes sense that his final words, on his deathbed, were not — you know, a renunciation, a plattitude — so that death was not really even an “event” for Kurtz, ie, there was no renunciation, no deathbed conversion — but rather, a continued, willful “rebellion”, Conrad called it — a final utterance of negation, tautology, and creation — “he had something to say, he said it” — and also, I would like to add, work. There is kind of a blur that surrounds this situation, as it is held suspended between work and … holism, or desolation.

Ex 2: My humility: I think that the key thing we realize with Kurtz is that he does not ever learn anything in the course of the story, that whatever he learned happend beforehand in the way in which he obliges, gives into, these “abominable satsifactions” or something that Marlow keeps on talking about. The same thing happens with the Intended, and with Marlow’s aunt — he emphasizes how the latter always seemed to have a ready answer for everything ‘– ”But the worker is worth his hire!’ she chirped back.” So we are talking about a case where everything is already set, where the relativistic insight already happened……

How is the temporal bubble HELD UP?????

TBC

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