Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The darkness between the flashes

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George Kubler

Actuality is when the lighthouse is dark between flashes: it is the instant between the ticks of the watch: it is a void interval slipping forever through time: the rupture between past and future: the gap at the poles of the revolving magnetic field, infinitesimally small but ultimately real. It is the interchronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events.

Yet the instant of actuality is all we can ever know directly. The rest of time emerges only in signals relayed to us at this instant by innumerable stages and by unexpected bearers. These signals are like kinetic energy stored until the moment of notice when the mass descends along some portion of its path to the center of the gravitational system. One may ask why these old signals are not actual. The nature of a signal is that its message is neither here nor now, but there and then. If it is a signal it is a past action, no longer embraced by the “now” of present being. The perception of a signal happens “now,” but its impulse and its transmission happened “then.” In any event, the present instant is the plane upon which the signals of all being are projected. No other plane of duration gathers us up universally into the same instant of becoming…

Now and in the past, most of the time the majority of people live by borrowed ideas and upon traditional accumulations, yet at every moment the fabric is being undone and a new one is woven to replace the old, while from time to time the whole pattern shakes and quivers, settling into new shapes and figures.

George Kubler, The Shape of Time

Written by nevalalee

July 2, 2016 at 7:30 am

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