This week's Humanities topic was Time. It was also the week the clocks changed and I have to admit that I didn't even realise until Monday evening. Should I be worried?
The poets were relatively easy to get my mind round but the philosophers proved a challenge as usual.
Starting with TS Eliot: Burnt Norton, the first part of his masterpiece, Four Quartets. It took years to write and WW2 was underway which explains the downbeat mood. Quote: "Time past and time future, what might have been and what has been, point to one end which is always present."
I like his phrase "The still point of the turning world" which was the idea behind my painting made during Spring lockdown "World's Still Turning" when we were having to stay put, stop moving while nature carried on and flourished.
Of Woods and Water by Thomas A Clark, Scottish contemporary who lives in Fife, was more positive - beautiful observations paced out by having just four lines on a page so plenty of time to read and re-read each one slowly, as if strolling through the wood looking around and paying attention to whatever catches your eye. Pages aren't numbered so you can go backwards and forwards, imagine what he's observing. And as you all know, I just love trees. This whole art journey began in Sweden over three years ago by living alone in T&F's cabin in the forest and spending time with Artist Aunty Karin. So you know who to blame!
Now the philosophers... here's one to play with : time is formed of a series of irreducable perspectives or a network of formal and asymmetrical singluar processes. Gilles Deleuze (1925-95)
These processes are folded into each other - a bit like origami to my mind or a never-ending spiral - as we go round and round doing the same thing - which is not actually the same but similar ie the same but different. And so it went on.
Talking of processes here's an astonishing fact: an experiment by Fujitsu required the equivalent of 82944 processors in a high performance super-computer to run for 40 minutes to process what a human brain can process in one second! And also we can discriminate 126 bits of information a second! Pretty sure my brain is not quite what it was but it's certainly getting a shake up now...
It's interesting to note that we use the words "spend time", "waste time", "buy time" and "pay attention" - all verbs relating to money. So have our time and attention become commodities with a monetary value? We talked about how much time we spend on social networks, watching TV and how our attention is increasingly fragmented. All interesting stuff.
There was a complex piece of music to listen to composed while in a POW camp - Quator pour la Fin du Temps by Messiaen but I'll leave the last word to Einstein who apparently said:
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
Despite all this I manage to make time to think up a main project and see a few friends!