Dis’n Dat / Diss unn’ Dat

What is time ?

“Sed quid tempus est ? cuius cum nihil unquam sit, omnia tamen in illo sunt et semper omnibus assistit. Illud idem omnia generat et occidit, auctor vitae ac mortis. Vtque ilius exspectatio longissima, ita semper memoria brevissima. Cumque nos semper comitetur, nunquam ipsum tamen agnoscimus. Nec cum eius tanta sit copia, reparatio tamen ulla conceditur : unde fit, ut nullius alterius rei iactura sit maior et vilior.”

But what is time ? Nothing is immanent in it (“nichts ist ihr zu eigen”), but all things are in it and it is always with all things. It creates all and kills, it is the author of life and death. And as its expectation is the longest, so is its memory the shortest. And if it is always in our company, we will never learn to know it. And if there is so much of it, any moment is irrecoverable, so the loss of time is more important and more common than any other loss that can incur.

I cite Mr CARDANUS (Ger., Eng.), from his work De Subtilitate, (see here, page 523 = image 553, the paragraph starts with Contraria ratione tempus in somno contrahitur …) as I found it in the biography of this Renaissance disciple written by Mr Anthony GRAFTON (Ger., Eng.) on page 9, note 1 – ha ! CARDANUS btw is the first who mentions the trick called “Blow Book” (Eng.), for all you book lovers. And GRAFTON wrote a history of the footnote, doubt that he got the Pour le Mérite (Ger., Eng.) for this, but who knows.
CARDAN, as far as I understand, also has no real answer. He describes his subject, tempus, but the innermost nature of it is for him as unreachable as it is for any other human being.
The wonder for me is that time “makes things big” and small. Looking back one often wonders how things actually went, were bearable, were good – how it concurred. The best thing about time is that we can not look ahead. I, at least, am grateful that there is no ability to look ahead ; to know that some things would happen, would have made me stumble, fall and give up. Things that burst into one’s life, come by surprise, as shocking as it may be, need & request urgent and immediate action, thus creating at least the illusion of non-passivity, non-subjection.
This was started by the very Mistress’ book report for July & August, in which she mentions But What If We’re Wrong ? Thinking About The Present As If It Were the Past by “Chuck” KLOSTERMANN (link, Ger., Eng.) (astoundingly boyish looks for a forty-something, seemingly a Berufsjugendlicher – yes, the “end of knowledge”-thing still bugs me), nevertheless an interesting point of view on life & all, on history.
I should be writing a text right now. But feel hungry. So it is time to go and pre-heat the oven for the pizza Diavolo I bought yesterday. Yes, let’s do this devilish thing now. This is NOT “procrastination”. Just a little dawdling, maybe.


17 thoughts on “Dis’n Dat / Diss unn’ Dat

  1. The end of knowledge can be considered, as follows:

    We are storing information in ever more fragile forms, digitally. If a global catastrophe occurs, how would this knowledge be recovered?

    Even though certain civilizations have come and gone, we can still view their words. For example, we can still view Egyptian hieroglyphics because they’re not stored digitally.

    But if our current civilization’s digital records disappear, how will future generations understand us? They’ll have no access to our knowledge. Hence, the possible end of knowledge, to a certain degree.

  2. Mr Miller – perhaps it is a good idea to search for his 1968 album – thank you for the music dearest Mistress. (I think this is a first, that you have linked something here ?)

    One could argue that it is only information that gets lost in this scenario, not knowledge. But I do not know whether this question (“What is the difference between knowledge and “only” information ?”) is finally solved at all.
    The Egyptian hieroglyphs and all the other stuff allow us only a limited peek into those cultures – it is only a fraction that survives. So would it be a bad thing when a nice little meteorite would wipe out some silly fatzebook-storage ? What’s lost ? Generations’ silly garble ?
    Digitalisation also means the age of copies – any data can be (and gets !) copied. Look at all the discussions of the “Urheberrecht”, copyrights or author’s rights.
    WHat you describe can ba an issue if things only do exist in digital form, without hard copy. At the moment this may be real for some art, soundbased and / or visual, perhaps for some administrational “things” in organisations (but I hope not).

    Life would go on without any copy of the Daily Mail left, dearest Scarlet.

  3. The “transmission”, die Überlieferung, those things which really survive, this is totally arbitrary. The stone of Rosetta could easily have been destroyed & turned into gravel. STuff we admire in awe, for example Greek bronze statues (they are really great, I once saw some in Italy) are pulled from the sea by accident. An idiot burns a library, in Alexandria ; other idiots (German warriors) sack Rome, destroying things we do not even know existed. Barbarians take over monastic libraries after 1803 – because they can’t read they use books & manuscripts for road-repairs – by the barrel !
    No – history is not something that looks to preserve things, history is mostly a long sequence of loss. Loss of material things which may have been considered valuable and holy, or contemptible and common at one point in history, ready to be put in a museum or other collection, or ready to go to the dump.
    Loss of insight, simply because it is not stored properly (how should it ? How do you store “sapientiales Wissen”, one could call it “wisdom” ?), and of course the never ending loss of humans.
    And even if “knowledge” is properly stored, is preserved over time – who should “use” it for what ? The priest who can read for an incantation citing the stock index that accidentially survived ? Sorry. But seriously – who “knows” ? Knowledge after all is a form of power.

    That is a long drum solo LẌ. “Drum solo never stop, after drum solo – bass solo !”

  4. I’ve oft times reflected that here, in the blogosphere, one can (most times) share philosophies and opinions with equanimity…Sites like Facebook so often descend into vile name-calling.
    And, in the case of this blog, very often with music and food accompaniment!
    As to the end of knowledge…I am a little fearful that we do stand to lose much of the digitised intelligence.
    wanders off, thinking of pizza….

  5. “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein.
    No need to complicate things.

    A Time to eat pizza, a time to drink tea

  6. They say “Time is the fire in which we burn.”

    “Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives, but I’d rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment… because they’ll never come again.” – Captain Picard to Commander Riker at the end of Star Trek Generations (that ‘someone’ was Soran [Malcolm McDowell] in the YouTube clip).

    Watching/reading Star Trek is a pretty good way to get to grips with time. Although one loses quite a lot of it during the watching/reading…

  7. Cara ! What a pleasure to see You again. Hope all is well and you are going strong.
    Sorry that I do not do fatzebook, so can’t follow the link.

    That is a cool project LẌ. I like that very much. It is there, und doch nicht …

    I am glad that my readers are a civilized bunch, even when the Vodka-fountain is pumping, dearest Dinahmow.
    Not in our lifetimes – the possible loss I mean. We still have archives, museums & libraries – the digitalisation is still just another tool. From Klostermann’s point of view 500 years ahead it may be different.
    BTW we did already loose a lot of digital stuff, just think about changing data formats, changing data storage (5er floppy anyone ?) … when this started no one was thinking about archiving. Hence the work of people like … I lost the link ! No joke, just wanted to link to a man who is busily preserving programs from internet’s stoneage. LẌ may know ! They only some months ago came up with the largest collection of playable old games, Duke NUkem included … damn …

    Yes, “keep it simple” is still the best recipe NIkos !

    Thank you LGS ! Finally natural science I can relate to.

    As Cardanus already mentioned, loosing time is the most common and most deplorable loss. But nevertheless I think Captain Piccard’s dialogue partner had one Pangalactic too much. Or too less, given his wide eye stare …

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