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It’s Not Going To Play Out


We live by projection: every action is informed by confidence in our predictive abilities. But there is not an aspect of any progression that remains unchanged from beginning to end. We are damned to perception and perception is easy to delude. Below is a collection of quotes, the culling of which was to be the foundation of an essay of the above title. The momentum of gathering the material took off on its own and became unwieldy; I was unable to yoke the accumulation into cohesion and some of the quotes have been used as material for separate texts. Although the group is loose and technically “unmanned,” there still exists the equivalent of my original intention, albeit shadowy.

All of the excerpts were selected for their relationship (in whole or part) to the sentiment, which I hope is clear in the title: no goal is ever achieved. Although the standard motive-structure of an action, Incentive-Belief-Prediction-Requition, is felt to be foundational to all projects/endeavors, it is an inherent misunderstanding of what forthcoming experience actually, always is. It is hoped, perhaps foolishly under the circumstances of a sort-of "goal deconstruction" exercise, that reading this group of quotations will make clear, rather than arrivals, there is only sequence.

There is no cynicism at work here. Nor is there fatalism. I believe in imaginative speculation and passionate materialistic trial and error, for every available cognitive reflection. The following collection (heap) is meant in full opposition to an obdurate culture which prizes “the successful,” a full blown illusion of its hubris.



People who understand quickly frighten me.
(Roland Barthes, The Neutral)


The danger is in the neatness of the identification.
(Samuel Beckett, Dante . . . Bruno. Vico . . Joyce)


Things must separate in order to appear.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)


It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory…
(Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation)


These tinted distances…
(Wallace Stevens, The Auroras of Autumn)


So might we ourselves look down into some rock-pool where lowly creatures repeat with naive zest dramas learned by their ancestors aeons ago.
(Olaf Stapleton, Star Maker)


No thought without phosophorous.
(Jacob Moleschott, Kleine Schriften)


Nay, for the cloak is neither mine nor thine, but the child's only.
(Oscar Wilde, The Star Child)


The emergence of narrative plot as a dominant mode of ordering and explanation may belong to the large process of secularization, dating from the Renaissance and gathering force during the Enlightenment, which marks a falling-away from those revealed plots- the Chosen People, Redemption, the Second Coming- that appeared to subsume transitory human time to the timeless. In the last two books of Paradise Lost, Milton's angel Michael is able to present a full panorama of human history to Adam, concluding in redemption and a timeless future of bliss; and Adam responds:
How soon hath thy prediction, Seer Blest,
Measur'd this transient World, the Race of time,
Till time stand fist: beyond is all abyss,
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. (Book 12, lines 553-56)
By the end of the Enlightenment, there is no longer any consensus on this prediction, and no cultural cohesion around a point of fixity which allows thought and vision so to transfix time. And this may explain the nineteenth century's obsession with questions of origin, evolution, progress, genealogy, its foregrounding of the historical narrative as par excellence the necessary mode of explanation and understanding.
(Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot, Design and Intention in Narrative)


Gabriel felt humiliated by the failure of his irony and by the evocation of this figure from the dead, a boy in the gasworks. While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him in her mind with another. A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead…

…A vague terror seized Gabriel at this answer as if, at that hour when he had hoped to triumph, some impalpable and vindictive being was coming against him, gathering forces against him in its vague world. But he shook himself free of it with an effort of reason and continued to caress her hand. He did not question her again for he felt that she would tell him of herself. Her hand was warm and moist: it did not respond to his touch but he continued to caress it just as he had caressed her first letter to him that spring morning.
(James Joyce, The Dead)


Becoming is certainty not imitating, or identifying with something; neither is it regressing-progressing neither is it corresponding, establishing corresponding relations; neither is it producing, producing a filiation of producing through filiation. Becoming is a verb with a consistency all its own; it does not reduce to, or lead back to, “appearing,” “being,” “equaling,” or “producing.”
(Gilles Deleuze and Felix Gatteri, A Thousand Plateaus)


This quality of looking forward into futurity seems the unavoidable condition of a being, whose motions are gradual, and whose life is progressive; as his powers are limited, he must use means for the attainment of his ends, and intend first what he performs last; as, by continual advances from his first stage of existence, he is perpetually varying the horizon of his prospects, he must always discover new motives of action, new excitements of fear, and allurements of desire. THE end therefore which at present calls forth our efforts will be found, when it is once gained, to be only one of the means to some remoter end. The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.
(Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, Number 2)


It's so nice to know where you're going, in the early stages. It almost rids you of the wish to go there.
(Samuel Beckett, Molloy)


Life, ten years ago, was largely a personal matter. I must hold in balance the sense of the futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to “succeed” –and, more than these, the contradiction between the dead hand of the past and the high intentions of the future. If I could do this through the common ills –domestic, professional and personal- then the ego would continue as an arrow shot from nothingness to nothingness with such force that only gravity would bring it to earth at last.

For seventeen years, with a year of deliberate loafing and resting out in the center –things went on like that, with a new chore only a nice prospect for the next day. I was living hard, too, but: “Up to forty-nine it’ll be all right,” I said. “I can count on that. For a man who’s lived as I have, that’s all you could ask.”

And then, ten years this side of forty-nine, I suddenly realized that I had prematurely cracked.
(F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack Up)


That the mind of man is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity; and that we forget the proper use of the time now in our power to provide for the enjoyment of that which, perhaps, may never be granted us, has been frequently remarked; and as this practice is: a commodious subject of raillery to the gay, and of declamation to the serious, it has been ridiculed with all the pleasantry of wit, and exaggerated with all the amplifications of rhetoric. Every instance, by which its absurdity might appear most flagrant, has been studiously collected; it has been marked with every epithet of contempt, and all the tropes and figures have been called forth against it.
(Samuel Johnson, Rambler No. 2)


Riding three days and nights he came upon the place but decided it could not be come upon.

He paused therefor to consider.

This must be the place.
If I have come upon it, then I am of no consequence.

Or this cannot be the place.
There is no consequence, but I am myself not diminished.

Or this may be the place.
But I may not have come upon it.
I may have been here always.

Or no one is here, and I am merely of and in the place.
And no one can come upon it.

This may not be the place.
Then I am purposeful, of consequence, but have not come upon it.

But this must be the place.
And since I cannot come upon it, I am not I, I am not here, here is not here.

After riding three days and nights he failed to come to the place, and rode out again.

Was it the place knew him not, or failed to find him?
Was he not capable?

In the story it only says one need come upon the place.

Riding three days and nights he came upon the place but decided it could not be come
upon.
(Harold Bloom, Anxiety of Influence)


This sentimental atrophy left his intellect entirely untrammeled; and he was more ambitious than ever of attaining a high position in society. Inasmuch as 
he had such a stepping-stone, the very least he could do was to make use of it.
(Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education)


Frederick was thinking about the apartment which he would occupy over there, on the plan of a drama, on subjects for pictures, on future passions.
(Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education


He was beginning to find that the happiness merited by the excellence of his soul was slow in arriving. He declaimed some melancholy verses as he walked rapidly along the deck till he reached the end at which the bell was. In the centre of a group of passengers and sailors he saw a gentleman talking soft nothings to a country-woman, while fingering the gold cross which she wore over her breast.
(Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education


They talked about the past and about the future; and, from time to time, they grasped each other's hands across the table, gazing at each other tenderly. 
But a messenger came with a new hat. 
(Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education


He went back to his bedchamber ; then, throwing himself on the sofa, he abandoned himself to a confused succession of thoughts plans of work, schemes 
for the guidance of his conduct, attempts to penetrate the future. At last, in order to shake off broodings which were all about himself, he went out into the open 
air.
(Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education


Frederick plunged into an intoxicating dream of the future, after he had seated himself behind the other passengers in the front of the diligence and the five horses had started off at a brisk trot. As an architect draws up the plan of a palace, so he 
mapped out his future life. He filled it with dainties and with splendours; it rose up to the sky; there was a profuse display of allurements; and so deeply was he buried in the contemplation of these things that he became oblivious to all external objects. 
(Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education


And he set about making preparations in his imagination: he planned in advance what he would do. In his mind, he furnished a room for himself. There he would lead the life of an artist! He would take guitar lessons! He would have a dressing gown a Basque beret, blue velvet slippers! And already he admired the two crossed fencing foils on his mantelpiece, with a skull, and the guitar hanging above.
(Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary)


A tide table predicts the ebb and flow of the ocean but does not explain why it happens. The Darwinian theory explains evolution but can only weakly predict its course. Newtonian physics both explains and predicts, albeit within a limited set of parameters. It is not necessary that a great theory have predictive capabilities. However, when the very logical structure of a theory precludes prediction of an important area of human interaction, such as collective action, we must address its shortcomings, much the same way quantum mechanics changed Newtonian physics.
(Dipak K. Gupta, Path to Collective Madness: A Study in Social Order and Political Pathology)


Stavrogin: ...in the Apocalypse the angel swears that there'll be no more time.
Kirillov: I know. It's quite true, it's said very clearly and exactly. When the whole of man has achieved happiness, there won't be any time, because it won't be needed. It's perfectly true.
Stavrogin: Where will they put it then?
Kirillov: They won't put it anywhere. Time isn't a thing, it's an idea. It'll die out in the mind.
(Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed)


The thesis of the iterability and hence the instructiveness of historical experience was itself a moment of experience: historia magistra vitae. No prediction departed from the space of previous history, and this was true in the same way for astrological and theological prophecies which remained tied to planetary laws or old promises.
During the Enlightenment all this changed slowly and then, with the French Revolution, quite radically. The horizon of prognosis was first extended, then finally broken. While the exemplary nature of the Ancientsor the figures of biblical typology retained their control of the future until the eighteenth century, with the turbulence of the Revolution this was no longer possible. The decade from 1789 to 1799 was experienced by the participants as the start of a future that had never before existed. Even those who invoked their knowledge of the past could not avoid confirming the incomparability of the Revolution. Its incomparability did not so much consist in the new circumstances, suggested Rupert Kornmann, as “in the extreme speed with which they arise or are introduced. . . . Our contemporary history is a repetition of the actions and events of thousands of years, all in the briefest of possible periods.”Even those who were not taken by surprise were overwhelmed by the accelerated tempo which seemed to open up a new and different age.
Through its consciousness of a general renewal, which consigned previous history to a faded prehistory, the Revolution altered the space of experience. The new history became a long-term process which, while it could be directed, all the same unfolded itself above the heads of the participants. This being the case, conclusions drawn from the past about the future not only seem out of place but also appear impossible. The “ruse of reason” forbids one to learn from history; it subjects men. Apart from the accuracy of Hegel’s dictum, it indicates a new experience. Hegel’s experience does invoke “history,” but history in its totality, which, in its rising consciousness of liberty, was drawn to the French Revolution. The processual course of this history is always unique.
(Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time)


In the age of liberal expansion, amusement lived on the unshaken belief in the future: things would remain as they were and even improve. Today this belief is once more intellectualized; it becomes so faint that it loses sight of any goal and is little more than a magic-lantern show for those with their backs to reality. It consists of the meaningful emphases which, parallel to life itself, the screen play puts on the smart fellow, the engineer, the capable girl, ruthlessness disguised as character, interest in sport, and finally automobiles and cigarettes, even where the entertainment is not put down to the advertising account of the immediate producers but to that of the system as a whole. Amusement itself becomes an ideal, taking the place of the higher things of which it completely deprives the masses by repeating them in a manner even more stereotyped than the slogans paid for by advertising interests. Inwardness, the subjectively restricted form of truth, was always more at the mercy of the outwardly powerful than they imagined. The culture industry turns it into an open lie. It has now become mere twaddle which is acceptable in religious best-sellers, psychological films, and women’s serials as an embarrassingly agreeable garnish, so that genuine personal emotion in real life can be all the more reliably controlled. In this sense amusement carries out that purgation of the emotions, which Aristotle once attributed to tragedy and Mortimer Adler now allows to movies. The culture industry reveals the truth about catharsis as it did about style.

The stronger the positions of the culture industry become, the more summarily it can deal with consumers' needs, producing them, controlling them, disciplining them, and even withdrawing amusement: no limits are set to cultural progress of this kind. But the tendency is immanent in the principle of amusement itself, which is enlightened in a bourgeois sense. If the need for amusement was in large measure the creation of industry, which used the subject as a means of recommending the work to the masses–the oleograph [imitation oil painting] by the dainty morsel it depicted, or the cake mix by a picture of a cake–amusement always reveals the influence of business, the sales talk, the quack's spiel. But the original affinity of business and amusement is shown in the latter's specific significance: to defend society. To be pleased means to say Yes. It is possible only by insulation from the totality of the social process, by desensitization and, from the first, by senselessly sacrificing the inescapable claim of every work, however inane, within its limits to reflect the whole. Pleasure always means not to think about anything, to forget suffering even where it is shown. Basically it is helplessness. It is flight; not, as is asserted, flight from a wretched reality, but from the last remaining thought of resistance. The liberation which amusement promises is freedom from thought and from negation. The effrontery of the rhetorical question, "What do people want?" lies in the fact that it is addressed–as if to reflective individuals–to those very people who are deliberately to be deprived of this individuality. Even when the public does–exceptionally–rebel against the pleasure industry, all it can muster is that feeble resistance which that very industry has inculcated in it. Nevertheless, it has become increasingly difficult to keep people in this condition.

The perfect similarity is the absolute difference. The identity of the category forbids that of the individual cases. Ironically, man as a member of a species has been made a reality by the culture industry. Now any person signifies only those attributes by which he can replace everybody else: he is interchangeable, a copy. As an individual he is completely expendable and utterly insignificant, and this is just what he finds out when time deprives him of this similarity. This changes the inner structure of the religion of success—otherwise strictly maintained. Increasing emphasis is laid not on the path per aspera ad astra (which presupposes hardship and effort), but on winning a prize.

The man with leisure has to accept what the culture manufacturers offer him. Kant’s formalism still expected a contribution from the individual, who was thought to relate the varied experiences of the senses to fundamental concepts; but industry robs the individual of his function. Its prime service to the customer is to do his schematizing for him. Kant said that there was a secret mechanism in the soul which prepared direct intuitions in such a way that they could be fitted into the system of pure reason. But today that secret has been deciphered. While the mechanism is to all appearances planned by those who serve up the data of experience, that is, by the culture industry, it is in fact forced upon the latter by the power of society, which remains irrational, however we may try to rationalize it; and this inescapable force is processed by commercial agencies so that they give an artificial impression of being in command. There is nothing left for the consumer to classify. Producers have done it for him. Art for the masses has destroyed the dream but still conforms to the tenets of that dreaming idealism which critical idealism balked at. Everything derives from consciousness: for Malebranche and Berkeley, from the consciousness of God; in mass art, from the consciousness of the production team. Not only are the hit songs, stars, and soap operas cyclically recurrent and rigidly invariable types, but the specific content of the entertainment itself is derived from them and only appears to change.
(Adorno and Horkheimer, The Culture Industry)


PROGNODOXES or PRODOXES, paradoxes of prognostication.
1. Rummelhahn's paradox is connected with the problem of breaking
the prediction barrier. As T. Glauler and U. Bosc have separately demonstrated, predicting the future gets stuck in the secular barrier (the so-called serrier or prerrier). Beyond the barrier the reliability of prognoses acquires a negative value, which means that whatever occurs will surely occur differently from the prognosis. To bypass the aforementioned barrier, Riimmel-hahn applied chronocurrent exfor-matics. Chronocurrent e. is based on the existence of ISOTHEMES (q.v.). An ISOTHEME is a line in SEMANTIC SPACE (q.v.) passing through all thematically identical publications, just as in physics an isotherm is a line connecting equi-thermal points, and in cosmology an isopsych is a line connecting all civilizations of a given degree of development in the universe. Knowing the previous course of an ISOTHEME, one can extrapolate from it in semantic space with no restrictions. By applying what he calls the "Jacob's ladder method,*' Rummelhahn uncovered every piece of writing with prognostic subject matter along just such an isotheme. He did this step by step, first predicting the content of the next work to come, and then, on the strength of its contents, forecasting the next publication. In this way he bypassed the Gl'auler barrier and obtained data on the state of America in the Year 1010. Mul-lainen and Zuck questioned this prognosis, emphasizing the fact that in the year 1010 the sun will be a red giant (q.v.) extending far beyond the orbit of the Earth. But the real Rummelhahn's paradox lies in the fact that prognostic writings can be traced back along the isotheme as well as forward; basing himself on Rummelhahn's chronocurrent calculations, Varbleux obtained data regarding the content of futurological works dating back 200,000 years, i.e., to the Quaternary period, and also to the Carboniferous period (by means of carbon) and the Archeozoic era. As T. Vroedel has stressed, we know from other sources that 200,000— let alone 150 million or a billion— years ago neither printing, nor books, nor mankind existed. Two hypotheses have tried to explain Rummelhahn's paradox, (a) According to Omphalides, the successfully retrodicted texts are those which, while never having in fact existed, might have existed if at the proper time there had been anyone for whom they could have been written down and published. This is the so-called hypothesis of the VIRTUALITY OF ISOTHEMIC RETROGNOSIS (q.v). (b) According to d'Artagnan (the pseudonym of a group of French refutologists), the axiomatics of isothemic exformatics contain the same insurmountable contradictions as does Cantor's classic theory (v. CLASSIC SET THEORY).
2. De la Faillance's prognostic paradox likewise concerns isothemic prognostication. He noted that if chronocurrent investigation allows the text of a work to be published now, though it is supposed to appear as a first edition only fifty or a hundred years later, then that work can no longer appear as a first edition.
3. The Golem metalang paradox, also known as the autostratic paradox.
According to the latest historical research, the temple of Ephesus was burned not by Hero-stratus but by Heterostratus. This person destroyed something outsidehimself, i.e., something else, hence his name. Autostratus, on the other hand, is someone who destroys himself (self-ruinously). Unfortunately, this is the only part of the Golem paradox that has been successfully translated into comprehensible language to date. The remainder of the Golem paradox, in the form:

Xiviplu (a -f- ququ 0,0) el -f m-el + edu—dqi

is fundamentally untranslatable into ethnic languages or into any formalisms of a mathematical or logical type. (This untranslatability is precisely the basis of the Golem p.) (See also METALANGS and PROGNOLINGUISTICS.) There are several hundred different interpretations of the Golem p.; according to T. Vroedel, one of the greatest living mathematicians, the Golem p. is based on the fact that it is not a paradox to Golem, but only to humans. This is the first paradox discovered to be relativized (related) to the intellectual power of the subjects seeking knowledge. All the issues connected with the Golem p. are covered by Vroeders work Die allgemeine Relativitatslehre des Golemschen Paradoxons (Gottingen, 2075).

PROGNOLINGUISTICS, a discipline dealing with the prognostic construction of languages of the future. Future languages may be constructed on the basis of the in-fosemic gradients revealed in them, and also thanks to the generative grammars and word makers of the Zwiebulin-Tschossnietz school (v. GENAGRAMMAR and WORD-MAKERS). Humans are incapable of predicting languages of the future independently; this is undertaken within the framework of the PROLINGEV (prognostication of linguistic evolution) project by TERATERS (q.v.) and PANTERS (q.v.), which are HYPERTERI-ERS (q.v.), or computers of the eighty-second generation connected to a GLOBOTER (q.v), or a terrestrial exformatic network together with its INTERPLANS (from Interfaciesplanetaris, q.v.) as bridgeheads on inner planets and as satellite memory (q.v.). Thus neither the theory of prognolinguistics nor its fruits, the METALANGS (q.v.), are intelligible to humans. All the same, the results of the PROLINGEV project permit the generation of any statements of one's choice in languages of a future no matter how distant; with the help of RETROLINTERS, a part of them can be translated into languages intelligible to us and practical use made of the contents thus obtained. According to the Zwiebulin-Tschossnietz school (returning to the course marked out by N. Chomsky in the twentieth century), a fundamental law of linguo-evolution is the Amblyon effect — the shrinking of whole articulatory sentences into newly emerging concepts and their names. Hence, in the development of the language, the following definition, for example—"A commercial, service, or administrative institution or establishment into which one can drive a car or any other conveyance and use its services without leaving the vehicle"—shrinks down to the name "drive- in.** The same mechanism of contamination also operates when the statement "Relativistic effects thwarting the ascertainment of that which is occurring now on planet X, n light-years distant from the Earth, compel the Ministry of Extraterrestrial Affairs to base its cosmic policy not on real events on other planets, for they are fundamentally inaccessible, but on the simulated history of these planets, this simulation being the business of investigative systems directed at the extraterrestrial state of things and known as MINISTRANTORS (q.v.)** is replaced by the single phrase "to wonderstand.'* This word (and offshoots such as wonderful, wondrous, wonderland, wonderhanded, wondercover, won-derline, wondress, etc.—there are 519 derivatives) is the result of a shrinking of a certain conceptual network into an agglomeration. Both "drive-in** and "wonderstand** are words belonging to a language in use at the present moment and which is called ZERO-LANG in the prognolinguistic hierarchy. Above zerolang lie the next levels of higher languages, such as METALANG 1, METALANG 2, etc. No one knows whether there is a limit to this series or whether it is infinite. In METALANG 2 the entire text of the present EXTELOPEDIA entry for "PROGNOLINGUISTICS** would read as follows: "The best in n-dighunk begins to creep into n- t-synclusdoche.** Thus in principle every sentence of any metalang has its equivalent in our zerolang. (In other words, there are in principle no interlinguistically impassable hiatuses.) But while a zerolang utterance has its always more concise equivalent in a metalang, the reverse in practice no longer occurs. And so a sentence in METALANG 3, the language chiefly used by Golem—"The out-indriven chokematic phyts faststica" thren-sic in cosmairy"—cannot be translated into an ethnic language of human beings (zerolang), since the time it takes to say the zerolang equivalent would be greater than a human life. (According to Zwie-bulin's estimates, this utterance would take 135 ± 4 years in our language.) Although we are not dealing with a fundamental untrans-latability, but only with a practical one caused by the time consumed by procedures, we know no way of shortening them and so can obtain results from metalang operations only indirectly, thanks to computers of at least the eightieth generation. The existence of thresholds between individual metalangs is interpreted by T. Vroedel as the phenomenon of the vicious circle: to reduce the long definition of a certain state of things to a concise form, one must first understand that very state of things, but when it can be understood only thanks to a definition that is so long that a lifetime is insufficient to assimilate it, the operation of reduction becomes impracticable. According to Vroedel, prognolinguistics practiced in machine intermediation has already gone beyond its initial objective, since it does not in fact predict the languages which humans are ever going to use, unless they radically transform their brains through autoevolution. What, then, are metalangs? There is no single answer. While carrying out his so-called "soundings upward"—i.e., along the gradient of linguoevolution—Golem discovered eighteen higher metalang levels within its reach, and also calculated circuitously the existence of a further five which it is unable to penetrate even by way of a model, since its informational capacity has proved inadequate for this. There may exist metalangs of such high levels that all the matter in the Cosmos would be insufficient to build a system to make use of those metalangs. So in what sense can these higher metalangs be said to exist? This is one of the dilemmas arising in the course of prog-nolinguistic work. In any case, the discovery of metalangs negatively prejudges the age-old controversy over the supremacy of the human intellect: it is not supreme, and we know that for certain now; the very constructibility of metalangs makes it likely that creatures (or systems) exist which are more intelligent than Homo sapiens. (See also PSY-CHOSYNTICS; METALANG GRADIENT; LANGUAGE CEILINGS; THEORY OF LINGUISTIC RELATIVITY; T. VROEDELS CREDO; CONCEPTUAL NETWORKS.) See also Table LXXIX.
(Stanislaw Lem, Imaginary Magnitude)


Waiting to be cloned one thousand times and scattered across ten million cubic light years, Paolo Venetti relaxed in his favorite ceremonial bathtub: a tiered hexagonal pool set in a courtyard of black marble flecked with gold. Paolo wore full traditional anatomy, uncomfortable garb at first, but the warm currents flowing across his back and shoulders slowly eased him into a pleasant torpor. He could have reached the same state in an instant, by decree, but the occasion seemed to demand the complete ritual of verisimilitude, the ornate curlicued longhand of imitation physical cause and effect.
(Greg Egan, Diaspora)


"There's been a revival of the old debate: with the failure of the wormholes, should we consider redesigning our minds to encompass interstellar distances? One self spanning thousands of stars, not via cloning, but through acceptance of the natural time scale of the lightspeed lag. Millennia passing between mental events. Local contingencies dealt with by non-conscious systems." Essays, pro and con, were appended; Paolo ingested summaries. "I don't think the idea will gain much support, though--and the new astronomical projects are something of an antidote. We canwatch the stars from a distance, as ever, but we have to make peace with the fact that we've stayed behind.
(Greg Egan, Diaspora)


For time to pass for a Copy, the numbers which defined it had to change from moment to. moment. Recomputed over and over again, a Copy was a sequence of snapshots, frames of a. movie – or when, exactly, did these snapshots give rise to conscious thought? While they were being computed? Or in the brief interludes when they sat in the computer's memory, unchanging, doing nothing but representing one static instant of the Copy’s life? When both stages were taking place a thousand times per subjective second, it hardly seemed to matter, but very soon –
Squeak. ‘Trial number four. Time resolution fifty milliseconds.’
What am I? The data? The process that generates it? The relationships between the numbers?
All of the above?
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


Besides, hearing words that he’d never ‘really’ spoken wasn’t much stranger than a Copy hearing anything at all. Even the standard millisecond clock rat of this world was far too coarse to resolve the full range of audible tones. Sound wasn’t represented in the model by fluctuations in air pressure values – which couldn’t change fast enough – but in terms of audio power spectra: profiles of intensity versus frequency. Twenty kilohertz was just a number here, a label; nothing could actually oscillate at that rate. Real ears analyzed pressure waves into components of various pitch; Paul knew that his brain was being fed the pre-existing power spectrum values directly, plucked out of the non-exsistent air by a crude patch in the model.
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


He listened to music until long after midnight. Tsang Chao, Michael Nyman, Philip Glass. It made no difference that each note "really" lasted seventeen times as long as it should have, or that the audio ROM sitting in the player "really" possessed no microstructure, or that the "sound" itself was being fed into his model-of-a-brain by a computerized sleight-of-hand that bore no resemblance to the ordinary process of hearing. The climax of Glass's Mishima still seized him like a grappling hook through the heart. And if the computations behind all this had been performed over millennia, by people flicking abacus beads, would he have felt exactly the same? It was outrageous to admit it -- but the answer had to be yes. He lay in bed, wondering: Do I still want to wake from this dream? The question remained academic, though; he still had no choice.
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


Squeak. "Experiment two, trial number one. Reverse order."
Paul counted. "One. Two. Three." Reverse order. After an initial leap into the future, he was now traveling backward through real time. It would have been a nice touch if he'd been able to view an external event on the terminal -- some entropic cliche like a vase being smashed -- knowing that it was himself, and not the scene, that was being "rewound" . . . but he knew that it couldn't be done (quite apart from the fact that it would have ruined the experiment, betraying the difference between subject and control). In real time, the first thing to be computed would be his model-time-final brain state, complete with memories of everything that "had happened" in the "preceding" ten seconds. Those memories couldn't include having seen a real broken vase assemble itself from fragments, if the vase hadn't even been smashed yet. The trick could have been done with a simulation, or a video recording of the real thing -- but that wouldn't have been the same.
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


…I still find those memories so convincing…
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


One. Two. Three." Paul struggled to imagine the outside world on his own terms, but it was almost impossible. Not only was he scattered across the globe, but widely separated machines were simultaneously computing different moments of his subjective time frame. Was the distance from Tokyo to New York now the length of his corpus callosum? Had the world shrunk to the size of his skull -- and vanished from time altogether, except for the fifty computers, which contributed at any one time to what he called "the present"?
Maybe not -- although in the eyes of some hypothetical space traveler the whole planet was virtually frozen in time, and flat as a pancake. Relativity declared that this point of view was perfectly valid -- but Paul's was not. Relativity permitted continuous deformation, but no cutting and pasting. Why not? Because it had to allow for cause and effect. Influences had to be localized, traveling from point to point at a finite velocity; chop up space-time and rearrange it, and the causal structure would fall apart.
What if you were an observer, though, who had no causal structure?
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


"But . . . if the pattern that is me could pick itself out from all the other events taking place on this planet . . . why shouldn't the pattern we think of as 'the universe' assemble itself, find itself, in exactly the same way? If I can piece together my own coherent space and time from data scattered so widely that it might as well be part of some giant cloud of random numbers . . . then what makes you think that you're not doing the very same thing?"
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


Squeak, The djinn looked seriously worried now. "You're a Copy in a virtual environment under computer control. Nothing more, nothing less. These experiments prove that your internal sense of space and time is invariant. That's exactly what we always expected -- remember? Come down to Earth. Your states are computed, your memories have to be what they would have been without manipulation. You haven't visited any other worlds, you haven't built yourself out of fragments of distant galaxies."
Paul laughed. "Your stupidity is . . . surreal. What did you create me for, if you're not even going to listen to what I have to say? I've had a glimpse of the truth behind . . . everything: space, time, the laws of physics. You can't shrug that off by saying that what happened to me was inevitable."
Squeak. "Control and subject are still identical."
"Of course they are! That's the whole point! Like . . . gravity and acceleration in General Relativity -- it all depends on what you can't tell apart. This is a new Principle of Equivalence, a new symmetry between observers. Relativity threw out absolute space and time -- but it didn't go far enough. We have to throw out absolute cause and effect!"
(Greg Egan, Permutation City)


HAMM:
Clov!
CLOV (impatiently):
What is it?
HAMM:
We're not beginning to... to... mean something?
CLOV:
Mean something! You and I, mean something!
(Brief laugh.)
Ah that's a good one!
HAMM:
I wonder.
(Pause.)
Imagine if a rational being came back to earth, wouldn't he be liable to get ideas into his head if he observed us long enough.
(Voice of rational being.)
Ah, good, now I see what it is, yes, now I understand what they're at!
(Clov starts, drops the telescope and begins to scratch his belly with both hands. Normal voice.)
And without going so far as that, we ourselves...
(with emotion)
...we ourselves... at certain moments...
(Vehemently.)
To think perhaps it won't all have been for nothing!
CLOV (anguished, scratching himself):
I have a flea!
(Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot)


… it works fine against any race at exactly our point of development… What better policy for an imperialistic, highly technological race than to lie doggo listening for evidence of younger civilizations? When they detect such, they send only one ship… the Computer Age is in full bloom there… Just think how appealing our naivete must be to an older civilization that has thousands of years of experience at managing data systems…
(Vernor Vinge, True Names)


Each time a wall is reached, there is a retreat. And history has just struck the wall of worldwide time. With live transmission, local time no longer creates history. Worldwide time does. In other words, real time conquers real space, space-time. We must reflect on this paradoxical situation which places us in a kind of outside-time. Faced as we are with this time accident, an accident with no equal. (Paul Virilio, from an Interview for Apres_Coup Magazine)


When I speak of a "sense-datum," I do not mean the whole of what is given in sense at one time. I mean rather such a part of the whole as might be singled out by attention: particular patches of colour, particular noises, and so on. There is some difficulty in deciding what is to be considered _one_ sense-datum: often attention causes divisions to appear where, so far as can be discovered, there were no divisions before.
(Bertrand Russell, Mysticism & Logic)


Eliminativism attacks the mental on three fronts. The first move is to argue that folk psychology, together with the mental states it postulates in its explanatory apparatus, is a wide, if not systematic, failure. The second is to argue that, since first attempts to account for phenomena are invariably failures, our first attempt to explain human behaviour—folk psychology—is very likely false, and this falsehood points inevitably to dispensing with the intentional states and phenomenal experiences to which its explanations appeal. The third move is to argue that the smooth reduction of mental states to brain states is extremely unlikely and that, consequently, the mental cannot fit into a comprehensive, scientifically respectable worldview. Remember earlier, when I talked about anchoring the mind to the physical world in the way we should ideally want? That is what a smooth reduction would do. Taken together, these moves constitute the eliminativist gambit, a gambit which, I argue, is unsuccessful, as is each move it comprises. Somewhat surprisingly, the supposed failure of folk psychology is not assigned to the predictive uncertainty of ascribing mental states to other people or to limits on the extent to which behaviour can be made sense of by such ascription. Folk psychology is alleged to fail not because it seems that, however competently we ascribe mental states to people, they can surprise our best expectations. Nor is it alleged to fail because some behaviour , from the eccentric to the insane, is difficult to rationalize. Rather, its failure is seen in the fact that it cannot explain "what sleep is" or "how differences in intelligence are grounded," much less "how memory works" or "what mental illness is". What will explain these, along with the phenomena on which folk psychology has some explanatory purchase, is a perfected neuroscience.
(Jason Holt, Blindsight and the Nature of Consciousness)


Our knowledge of physical objects and of other minds is only knowledge by description, the descriptions involved being usually such as involve sense-data. All propositions intelligible to us, whether or not they primarily concern things only known to us by description, are composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted, for a constituent with which we are not acquainted is unintelligible to us.
(Bertrand Russell, Mysticism & Logic)


Such would be the successive phases of the image:

it is the reflection of a profound reality;
it masks and denatures a profound reality;
it masks the absence of a profound reality;
it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum.
(Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation)


Why? A question of idiosyncrasy, of temperament. In my eyes, the share allotted to the irrational is one of the many ways that may help me to arrive at a personal “truth,” which is only to a very limited extent present in my awareness of it. This is a kind of open provocation to the unconscious.
(Robert Pinget, from a Speech at NYU)


All my wits. It would be better if I were to lose them once and for all and say no more about them. There’s no danger of that. I shall always keep enough of them to hope to lose them.
(Robert Pinget, Someone)


And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life.
(Herman Melville, Moby Dick)


But mind, never at ease, creaketh “I”.
This I persisteth not, posteth not through generations,
Changeth momentarily, finally is dead.
(Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies)


Death implies change and individuality… The birth of individuality is ecstasy; so also is its death.
(Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies)


Doubt.
Doubt thyself.
Doubt even if thou doubtest thyself.
Doubt all.
Doubt even if thou doubtest all.
(Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies)


Sitting there on the heather, on our planetary grain, I shrank from the abysses that opened up on every side, and in the future. The silent darkness, the featureless unknown, were more dread than all the terrors that imagination had mustered. Peering, the mind could see nothing sure, nothing in all human experience to be grasped as certain, except uncertainty itself; nothing but obscurity gendered by a thick haze of theories. Man's science was a mere mist of numbers; his philosophy but a fog of words. His very perception of this rocky grain and all its wonders was but a shifting and a lying apparition. Even oneself, that seeming-central fact, was a mere phantom, so deceptive, that the most honest of men must question his own honesty, so insubstantial that he even doubt his very existence.
(Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker)


CAVIAR
The Word was uttered: the One exploded into one thousand million worlds.
Each world contained a thousand million spheres.
Each sphere contained a thousand million planes.
Each plane contained a thousand million stars.
Each star contained a many thousand million things.
Of these the reasoner took six, and, preening, said: This is the One and the All.
These six the Adept harmonised, and said: This is the Heart of the One and the All.
These six were destroyed by the Master of the Temple; and he spake not.
The Ash thereof was burnt up by the Magus into The Word.
Of all this did the Ipsissimus know Nothing.
(Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies)


For essential reasons: the unity of all that allows itself to be attempted today through the most diverse concepts of science and of writing, is, in principle, more or less covertly, yet always, determined by an historico-metaphysical epoch of which we merely glimpse the *closure*. I do not say the *end*. The idea of science and the idea of writing--therefore also of the science of writing--is meaningful for us only in terms of an origin and within a world to which a certain concept of the sign (later I shall call it “the” concept of sign) and a certain concept of the relationships between speech and writing, have “already” been assigned. A most determined relationship, in spite of its privilege, its necessity, and the field of vision that it has controlled for a few millenia, especially in the West, to the point of being now able to produce its own dislocation and itself proclaim its.
(Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology)


Scientists work from models acquired through education and through subsequent exposure to the literature often without quite knowing or needing to know what characteristics have given these models the status of community paradigms. And because they do so, they need no full set of rules. The coherence displayed by the research tradition in which they participate may not imply even the existence of an underlying body of rules and assumptions that additional historical or philosophical investigation might uncover. That scientists do not usually ask or debate what makes a particular problem or solution legitimate tempts us to suppose that, at least intuitively, they know the answer. But it may only indicate that neither the question nor the answer is felt to be relevant to their research. Paradigms may be prior to, more binding, and more complete than any set of rules for research that could be unequivocally abstracted from them.”
(Thomas Kuhn,  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions)



(Dipak K. Gupta, Path to Collective Madness: A Study in Social Order and Political Pathology)


Two attitudes are possible with respect to these new technologies: one declares them a miracle; the other—mine—recognizes that they are interesting while maintaining a critical attitude… There are two ways of understanding the notion of play: playing cards, dominos, checkers; or the play of a mechanical part when it is loose in its housing. I think, in fact, that the second is the angle from which we should envision play today. Play is not something that brings pleasure; on the contrary, it expresses a shift in reality, an unaccustomed mobility with respect to reality. To play today, in a certain sense, means to choose between two realities.
(Paul Virilio, Game of Love and Chance: a Discussion)


There is no compulsion making one thing happen because another has happened. The only necessity that exists is logical necessity. The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena. Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages. And in fact both are right and both wrong: though the view of the ancients is clearer in so far as they have a clear and acknowledged terminus, while the modern system tries to make it look as if everything were explained.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)


Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none. New and unsuspected phenomena are, however, repeatedly uncovered by scientific research, and radical new theories have again and again been invented by scientists. History even suggests that the scientific enterprise has developed a uniquely powerful technique for producing surprises of this sort. If this characteristic of science is to be reconciled with what has already been said, then research under a paradigm must be a particularly effective way of inducing paradigm change. That is what fundamental novelties of fact and theory do. Produced inadvertently by a game played under one set of rules, their assimilation requires the elaboration of another set. After they have become parts of science, the enterprise, at least of those specialists in whose particular field the novelties lie, is never quite the same again.
(Thomas Kuhn,  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions)


I observe, I accept, I assume the immense process of the destruction of appearances (and of the seduction of appearances) in the service of meaning (representation, history, criticism, etc.) that is the fundamental fact of the nineteenth century. The true revolution of the nineteenth century, of modernity, is the radical destruction of appearances, the disenchantment of the world and its abandonment to the violence of interpretation and of history.

I observe, I accept, I assume, I analyze the second revolution, that of the twentieth century, that of postmodernity, which is the immense process of the destruction of meaning, equal to the earlier destruction of appearances. He who strikes with meaning is killed by meaning.

The dialectic stage, the critical stage is empty. There is no more stage. There is no therapy of meaning or therapy through meaning: therapy itself is part of the generalized process of indifferentiation.
(Jean Buadrillard, Simulacra and Simulation)


But one can hardly claim that the ability to recognize contradictions between belief and experience only operates with information which has been already organized into academic form: most educated modern men are quite able to recognize a great many contradictions and logical inconsistancies wherever they find them, whether in books, in conversations, or even in their own thoughts.
(Don Le Pan, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture)


The relatively few languages of the cultures which have attained to modern civilization promise to overspread the globe and cause the extinction of the hundreds of diverse exotic linguistic species, but it is idle to pretend that they represent any superiority of type. On the contrary, it takes but little real scientific study of pre-literate languages ... to show how much more precise and finely elaborated is the system of relationships in many such languages than is ours. By comparison with many American languages, the formal schematization of ideas in English, German, French, or Italian seems poor and jejune. Why, for instance, do we not, like the Hopi, use a different way of expressing the relation of channel or sensation (seeing) to result in consciousness, as between ‘I see that it is red’ and ‘I see that it is new’? We fuse the two quite different types of relationship into a vague sort of connection expressed by ‘that’, whereas the Hopi indicates that in the first case seeing presents a sensation ‘red’, and in the second that seeing presents unspecified evidence from which is drawn the inference of newness. If we change the form to ‘I hear that it is red’ or ‘I hear that it is new’ we European speakers still cling to our lame ‘that’, but the Hopi now uses still another relater and makes no distinction between ‘red’ and ‘new’, since, in either case, the significant presentation to consciousness is that of a verbal report, and neither a sensation per se nor inferential evidence. Does the Hopi language show here a higher plane of thinking, a more rational analysis of situation than our vaunted English? Of course it does. In this field as in various others, English compared to Hopi is like a bludgeon compared to a rapier.
(Benjamin Lee Whorf quoted in Le Pan’s, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture)


We have a science organized on a basis that is not at all what you think it is. Nothing to do with a genesis. We did not create our science by entering into the pulsation of nature. No. We played around with little letters and little figures and they are what we use to build machines that work, that fly, that move around the world, that travel long distances. That has absolutely nothing to do with anything that has been dreamed up on the register of knowledge. This is a thing that has its own organization. Which finally emerges as its very essence, namely our famous little computers of all kinds, electronic or not.
It doesn’t work all by itself, of course, but I can point out to you that for the moment, and until further notice, there is no way we can build a bridge between the most highly evolved forms of a living organism’s organs, and this organization of science.
(Jacques Lacan, My Teaching)


And certainly one is again faced with the problem about the hen and the egg; the dogma produces the sensibility, but it must itself have been produced by it. But to say that the dogma does not influence the sensibility is absurd. People only say it when they are trying to put the sensibility in a peculiar state over the dogma. The conflict between the scientific and aesthetic points of view, between which I have been trying to arbitrate, gives them a reason; people feel uncertain as to what sort of validity a critical dogma can have, how far one ought to be trying to be independent of one’s own preferences, and do not want their sensibility to be justified by reasons because they are afraid that once they start reasoning they will fall into the wrong point of view.
(William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity)


The interpretation demanded by a specific text, in its plurality, is in no way liberal; it is not a question of conceding some meanings; magnanimously acknowledging that each one has its share of truth; it is a question, against all in-difference, of asserting the very existence of plurality, which is not that of the true, the probable, or even the possible.
(Roland Barthes, S/Z)


According to Hume, theories cannot be derived be derived from facts. The demand to admit only those theories which follow from facts leaves us without any theory.  Hence, science as we know it can exist only if we drop the demand and revise our methodology.
According to our present results, hardly any theory. (I repeat: without any theory, for there is not a single theory that is not in some trouble or other.) Hence, a science as we know it can exist only if we drop this demand also and again revise our methodology, now admitting counterinduction in addition to admitting unsupported hypotheses.
(Paul Feyerabend, Against Method)


To proceed further. Not only are facts and theories in constant disharmony, they are never as neatly separated as everyone makes them out to be. Methodological rules speak of 'theories', 'observations' and 'experimental results' as if these were well-defined objects whose properties are easy to evaluate and which are understood in the same way by all scientists. (Feyerabend, Against Method)
“It is this historico-physiological character of evidence, the fact that it does not merely describe some objective state of affairs but also expresses some subjective, mythical and long forgotten views concerning the state of affairs, that forces us to take a fresh look at methodology......A straight forward and unqualified judgment of theories by “facts” is bound to eliminate ideas simply because they do not fit into the frame work of some older cosmology.” 
(Paul Feyerabend, Against Method)


…humble, squalid, time-marking human thought, marking time in one spot, always in one spot…
(Nathalie Sarraute, Tropisms)


She had understood the secret. She had scented the hiding-place of what should be the real treasure for everybody. She knew the ‘scale of values.’
(Nathalie Sarraute, Tropisms)


These movements, of which we are hardly cognizant, slip through us on the frontiers of consciousness in the form of undefinable, extremely rapid sensations. They hide behind our gestures, beneath the words we speak and the feelings we manifest, all of which we are aware of experiencing, and are able to define. They seemed, and still seem to me to constitute the secret source of our existence, in what might be called its nascent state.
And since, while we are performing them, no words express them, not even those of the interior monologue – for they develop and pass through us very rapidly in the form of frequently very sharp, brief sensations, without our perceiving clearly what they are – it was not possible to communicate them to the reader otherwise than by means of equivalent images  that would make him experience analogous sensations. It was also necessary to make them break up and spread out in the consciousness of the reader the way a slow-motion film does. Time was no longer the time of real life, but of a hugely amplified present.
These movements seemed to me to be veritable dramatic actions, hiding beneath the most commonplace conversations, the most everyday gestures, and constantly emerging up on the surface of the appearances that both conceal and reveal them.
(Nathalie Sarraute, Tropisms)


The future can only be anticipated in the form of an absolute danger. It is that which breaks absolutely with constituted normality and can only be proclaimed, presented, as a sort of monstrosity. For the future world and for that within it which will have put into question the values of sign, word and writing, for that which guides our future anterior, there is as yet no exergue.
(Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology)


As I said in my book L’Inertie Polaire, what's on its way is the planet man, the self-sufficient man who, with the help of technology, no longer needs to reach out to others because others come to him. With cybersexuality, he doesn't need to make at love at his partner's house, love comes to him instantly, like a fax or a message on the electronic highway. The future lies in cosmic solitude. I picture a weightless individual in a little ergonomic armchair, suspended outside a space capsule, with the earth below and the interstellar void above. A man with his own gravity, who no longer needs a relationship to society, to those around him, and least of all to a family.
(Paul Virilio, Game of Love and Chance: a Discussion)


Man reads good reviews of his book so many times that he begins to remodel his style on them and use their rhythms.
(F. Scott Fitzgerald, Notebooks)


…and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! Yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once…
(William Wordswoth, Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey)


Knowing what my life has been until today – so many times and in so many ways the opposite of what I would have wanted it to be – what can I assume about my life in the future except it will be what I do not assume, what I do not want, what happens to me outwardly, even through my will? I don’t have even have anything in my past that I remember with the useless desire to repeat it. I was never anything but a vestige and a simulacrum of myself.
(Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet)


The Plan(e) is infinite, you can start it in a thousand different ways; you will always find something that comes too late or too early, forcing you to recompose all of your relations of speed and slowness, all of your affects and to rearrange the overall assemblage. An infinite undertaking.
(Gilles Deleuze and Felix Gattari, A Thousand Plateaus)


The word is born in a dialogue as a living rejoinder within it; the word is shaped in dialogic interaction with an alien word that is already in the object. A word forms a concept of it’s own object in a dialogic way.
But this does not exhaust the internal dialogism of the word. It encounters an alien word not only in the object itself: every word is directed toward an answer and cannot escape the profound influence of the answering word that it anticipates.
(Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination)


...his suggestion that every social formation or historically existing society has in fact consisted in the overlay and structural coexistence of several modes of production all at once, including vestiges and survivals of older modes of production, now relegated to structurally dependant positions within the new, as well as anticipatory tendencies which are potentially inconsistent with the existing system but have not yet generated an autonomous space of their own.
But if this suggestion is valid, then the problems of “synchronic” system and of the typological temptation are both solved at one stroke. What is synchronic is the “concept” of the mode of production; the moment of the historical coexistence of several modes of production is not synchronic in this sense, but open to history in a dialectical way. The temptation to classify texts according to the appropriate mode of production is thereby removed, since the texts emerge in a space in which we may expect them to be crisscrossed and intersected by a variety of impulses from contradictory modes of cultural production all at once. (Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconcious)


“Becoming conscious and leaving behind a memory trace are processes incompatible with each other within one and the same system.” Rather, memory fragments are “often most powerful and most enduring when the incident which left them behind was one that never entered consciousness.” But in Proustian terms, this means only what has not been experienced explicitely and consciously, what has no happened to the subject of an experience, can becomea component of the memoire involuntaire.
(Walter Benjamin, Illuminations)


Experience “is less the product of facts firmly anchored in memory than of a convergence in memory of accumulated and frequently unconscious data”
(Walter Benjamin, Illuminations)


When we talk about mental events we are really talking about behavioral dispositions
though not compatible with:
When we talk about mental events we are really talking about neural events
is compatible with:
There are, however, other things relevant to prediction and explanation of behavior than the systematic inter- relationships of dispositions with events in the external world, and among these are the neural events which sometimes cause the onset of such dispositions...
...To put it another way, the intuition that there is some difference between materialism and parallelism makes us feel that there is something misleading, or at least incomplete, in topic-neutral accounts of what makes the mental mental. Or, to put it still another way, if our notion of "mind" is what topic-neutral analyses say it is, it is very hard to explain the existence of a mind-body problem.20 We may say that the lack of a fine-grained neurological ac- count promoted the notion that there is something distinc- tive about the mind-that it must be something ghostly- but this tactic simply splits the traditional notion of the mental into two parts: the causal role and the Glassy Es- sence believed to play this causal role. Topic-neutral anal- yses obviously cannot capture, and do not want to capture, the latter. But it seems mere gerrymandering to split our concept of a "mental state" into the portion which is com- patible with materialism and the portion which is not, and then say that only the former is "essential" to the concept. (Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature)

Ideology conceals itself in the calculation of probabilities. Not everyone will be lucky one day- but the person who draws the winning ticket…
(Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment)


Thus, in the case of three sonnets by Milton, what is really happening depends on a moment of hesitation or syntactic slide, when a reader is invited to make a certain kind of sense only to discover (at the beginning of the next line) that the sense he has made is either incomplete or simply wrong. “In a formalist analysis,” I complain, /”that the moment will disappear, either because it has been flattened out and made into an (insoluble) crux or because it has been eliminated in the course of a procedure that is incapable of finding value in temporal phenomena.
(Stanley Fish, Interpreting the Variorum)


More important is to realize that the future with which the dramatic present is filled is not its real future, but only an imaginary future. It is not through divination but through imagination that we construct a future to the story: our foreknowledge is rarely as to the precise course events will follow, but only as to the course(s) of action intended by the characters.
(Don LePan, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture)


The felt difference of quality between past and future, therefore, is not an intrinsic difference, but only a difference in relation to us: to impartial contemplation, it ceases to exist. And impartiality of contemplation is, in the intellectual sphere, that very same virtue of disinterestedness which, in the sphere of action, appears as justice and unselfishness. Whoever wishes to see the world truly, to rise in thought above the tyranny of practical desires, must learn to overcome the difference of attitude towards past and future, and to survey the whole stream of time in one comprehensive vision.
(Bertrand Russell, Mysticism & Logic)


The logic of mysticism shows, as is natural, the defects which are inherent in anything malicious. The impulse to logic, not felt while the mystic mood is dominant, reasserts itself as the mood fades, but with a desire to retain the vanishing insight, or at least to prove that it was insight, and that what seems to contradict it is illusion. The logic which thus arises is not quite disinterested or candid, and is inspired by a certain hatred of the daily world to which it is to be applied. Such an attitude naturally does not tend to the best results. Everyone knows that to read an author simply in order to refute him is not the way to understand him; and to read the book of Nature with a conviction that it is all illusion is just as unlikely to lead to understanding. If our logic is to find the common world intelligible, it must not be hostile, but must be inspired by a genuine acceptance such as is not usually to be found among metaphysicians.
(Bertrand Russell, Mysticism & Logic)


There is between the theory of natural correspondence and the rejection of a nature a contradiction that is resolved when impressions become detached in the recollection of lived experience {Erlebnis}. Thus, the experience contained in these impressions is freed and can be joined to the allegorical heritage.
(Walter Benjamin, Letter to Gershom Scholem)


To the observation that the new technology presents itself first in the form of the old_ like-like the metallic support discised in a Greek column-Benjamin adds two theoretical ideas: first, that of “wishful fantasies” (Benjamin, Reflections), which attempt to compensate for the inadequacies of a given society; and second, that of an anchorage of these utopias in the collective unconscious, the depository of archaic promises that reemerge when a society breaks with the recent past, with what has aged. He thinks that through the imaginary, from which emerge the archaic images of the collective unconscious, the projection of a society into the future is always indebted to the origin.
(Rainer Rochlitz, The Disenchantment of Art, The Philosophy of Walter Benjamin)


We require a visible past, a visible continuum, a visible myth of origin, which reassures us about our end. Because finally we have never believed in them. Whence this historic scene of the reception of the mummy at the Orly airport. Why ? Because Ramses was a great despotic and military figure? Certainly. But mostly because our culture dreams, behind this defunct power that it tries to annex, of an order that would have had nothing to do with it, and it dreams of it because it exterminated it by exhuming it as its own past.
(Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation)


Bergson maintains that intellect can only deal with things in so far as they resemble what has been experienced in the past, while intuition has the power of apprehending the uniqueness and novelty that always belong to each fresh moment. That there is something unique and new at every moment, is certainly true; it is also true that this cannot be fully expressed by means of intellectual concepts. Only direct acquaintance can give knowledge of what is unique and new. But direct acquaintance of this kind is given fully in sensation, and does not require, so far as I can see, any special faculty of intuition for its apprehension. It is neither intellect nor intuition, but sensation, that supplies new data; but when the data are new in any remarkable manner, intellect is much more capable of dealing with them than intuition would be.
(Bertrand Russell, Mysticism & Logic)


Our whole life is built about a certain number--not a very small number--of primary instincts and impulses. Only what is in some way connected with these instincts and impulses appears to us desirable or important; there is no faculty, whether "reason" or "virtue" or whatever it may be called, that can take our active life and our hopes and fears outside the region controlled by these first movers of all desire.
(Bertrand Russell, Mysticism & Logic)


The mind performs this temporizing action in each everyday act: “I am about to recite a psalm… The life of this action is distended into memory in the respect to the part I have already recited and into expectation in respect to the part I am about to recite. Attention is present, through which what was future is conveyed over [triiciatur], that it may become past.” Attention, as we have seen, is one of the major functions of the Will, the great unifier, which here, in what Augustine calls the “distention of the mind,” binds together the tenses of time into the mind’s present. “Attention abides and through it what will be present proceeds to become something absent,” namely, the past. And “the same holds for the whole of man’s life,” which without the mind’s distention would never be a whole; “the same [also] for the whole era of the children of men, of which all the lives of men are parts,” namely, insofar as this era can be recounted as a coherent continuous story.
(Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind)


Expectation must also be distinguished from a range of other future-oriented feelings of an essentially disinterested sort, such as believing, knowing and prophesying. A belief, to begin with, may flying the face of all logic, of all rational analysis og the probability or improbability of a given occurrence taking place. Expectation, on the other hand, is firmly grounded in a rational assessment of probabilities: our reason may be, and often is faulty, but it is nevertheless reason rather than faith on which expectations are grounded.
Expectations may be clearly distinguished from knowing and prophesying by the element of doubt which is always present in the one, and never in the other two. When we prophesy that something will happen, we do not admit of any uncertainty. There is, of course, always an element of uncertainty in events themselves. But in the mind of someone professing ‘knowledge’ of the future, the element of uncertainty is never admitted, whereas uncertainty is always implicitly admitted when one expresses an expectation.
(Don LePan, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture)


We do not know enough about how the present will lead into the future. We shall never be able to say…"Next time I meet with these phenomena, I shall be able to predict their total course." Prediction can never be absolutely valid and therefore science can never prove some generalization or even test a single descriptive statement and in that way arrive at final truth. There are other ways of arguing this impossibility. The argument of this book — which again, surely, can only convince you insofar as what I say fits with what you know and which may be collapsed or totally changed in a few years — presupposes that science is a “way of perceiving and making…'sense' of our precepts,” and that perception operates only upon difference.
(Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature)


Other studies confirm that the processes of expectation with which we respond to literary plots are acquired cognitive abilities…the general import of the evidence is plain enough. The child’s ability to formulate projections of the future is limited by the cognative processes that he or she has acquired. And these do not include the faculty of expectation.
(Don LePan, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture)


Dasein is authentically alongside itself; it is truly existent whenever it is running ahead, which is nothing other than the authentic (eigentliche) and singular (einzige) future of one’s own Dasein. In running ahead Dasein is its future, in such a way that in this futural it returns to its past and present. Therefore the Being of understanding, conceived in its most extreme possibility of Being, is time itself, not in time.303 In Being and Time, as Gadamer interprets it, the real question is not how being can be understood, but in what way understanding is being, because the understanding of being represents the existential distinction of Dasein.304 Does this mean that hermeneutics, rather than being in time, is itself time in being temporal (not temporality)?
For the later Heidegger being is essentially temporal. And since it is a continual coming into being, it is said to be "older" than the intervals of time (die Zeiten) that can be measured by beings. Yet it is not "older" than time itself, because Being is time in its origin. In other words, Being is neither beyond time, if time is understood in the usual metaphysical sense, nor eternal, if eternal is defined as is usual in Christian theology.305 This means that this is the under-standing of time which can imply the recognition of understanding as temporal. Here, the understanding of time obviously represents the temporal distinction of hermeneutics.
Time is Dasein which is my specificity, and this can be specified in what is futural by running ahead correspondingly to the certain yet indeterminate past. Dasein always is its possible tem-poral being and as the origin of any thing that can be said about the time. Time is temporal as far as hermeneutics represents the un-veiling of this temporality; it is not time, but temporality (Zeitlich-keit). The fundamental assertion that time is temporal is therefore the most authentic determination. It is not a tautology, because the Being of temporality signifies nonidentical actuality. In this running ahead, as Dasein I am authentically time, I have time.306 Time itself is meaningless, (not baseless) as Heidegger states, i.e., it is not to be interpreted at all since it can be interpreted only in each case where there are many times, or, let us to say, when time is temporal. In the Metaphysical Foundations of Logic, time is interrogated in terms of Dasein’s being beyond being i.e., beyond its ek-stasis wherein time is disclosed.307
As Heidegger states, temporality is itself the self-unifying ecstatic unity in ecstatic temporalization.308 The unity of temporality, for Heidegger, is characterized in such a way as to eliminate the notion of anything thing-like, present at hand, which is between having-been-ness and the future.309 It should not be taken as a personal center beside being. The essence of time lies in the ecstatic unified oscillation which is the origin of the unity of temporality. In other words, the unity of horizons belongs to this peculiar unity of time.310 However, this ecstasy surpasses every being beyond being located in the sphere of the subject. It is nowhere, since it presents no determinate being. It exists not as such, but as it temporalizes itself. 
(William McNeill, Introduction to Heidegger's The Concept of Time)


In every focusing movement my body unites present, past and future, it secretes time, or rather it becomes that location in nature where, for the first time, events, instead of pushing each other into the realm of being, project round the present a double horizon of past and future and acquire a historical orientation. (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception)


We, each of us, are moments of self-negating Earth. We are time in the mode of not being it. This means that nothing separates past from present; nothing comes between present and future, and likewise, nothing separates future from past (Sartre, 1956 ). The paradox of temporality is that the lived-body, which fundamentally is "of" time, can appear to be something that is simply "in" time. There is, relatedly, an old riddle which claims that if change were total, then that change would remain imperceptible. That is, if everything is changing, the actual change would travel un-noticed. The logic is as follows: there must be something which does not change something which stays constant — if the changes are to be registered; there must be something which, unchanged, observes and meaningfully regards the changes. This line of thought, in the end, is way too pure, way too tight. It misses the fact that the existential up-sur- gence of world [and] self need not constancy but merely differing rates of change. Different rates of change, therefore, becomes clearings "of" time. Applied to the present discussion, this means that humans are places and moments who, through a host of intentional powers, temporalize the very temporality that they are. To exist is to be time, though in the mode of not being it. And, in this manner, world [and] self show themselves, primarily, as "in" it.
(Cory Anton, Selfhood and Authenticity)


Like creation ex nihilo and clairvoyance, confrontation with a striking correlation between events in the absence of any forward causal connection leaves us with some of the characteristic marks of a causal relation while removing others which are so deeply entrenched that their absence leaves us baffled. Perhaps we should always insist that there must be some undiscovered forward causal connection, or that the correlation, no matter how striking, is pure coincidence.
(Evan Fales, Causation and Universals)


Our practical perceptions are narratively guided because they are organized around a set of practical concerns: identifying the on-going social dramas in which we find ourselves, searching for an appropriate place in those dramas, and so far as we can, attempting to direct them in desirable directions. Our attempts to both locate ourselves accurately in a larger social story, and to steer that social story (or our place in it) in desirable ways, generates obstacles, surprises, the on-going suspense that characterizes much of life experience. Hope, in other words, is a narrative thing.
(Cheryl Mattingly, Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience)

When a story is told, if that storytelling is successful, it creates in the listener a hope that some endings (generally the endings the hero also cares about) will transpire... 
The parallel between the told story and the lived time is easily drawn if life in time is characterized, following Heidegger (1962), as a present located between past and future. Our orientation in time, as Heidegger tells us, is an orientation toward a future... Desire in the face of an uncertain future plays a central structuring role.
(Cheryl Mattingly, Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience)


But the inexorability of our movement through time guarantees that the past accumulates and the future diminishes in the uniform way in which they do. Thus there is no contradiction engendered by our use of 'present' (and hence, use of 'past' and 'future'). But McTaggart's puzzle is deep, because it raises a deep question: do the terms ' past,' 'present,' and 'future' refer to any feature of the world...
(Evan Fales, Causation and Universals


…objective determiners, such as biological factors and past history, become relative to the goal idea; they do not function as direct causes but provide probabilities only. The individual uses all objective factors in accordance with his sty1e of life. "Their significance and effectiveness is developed only in the intermediary psychological metabolism so to speak"
(Alfred Adler, The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler)


1) Adler had already taken the observable forward orientation of the individual and his concern with the future as the center of his dynamic psychology. By now describing goals and the future as fictional, he expressed in effect that this future was not the objective future but a subjective future as experienced in the present. Thus he avoided the teleological dilemma of the determination of present events by something which remains in the future. This solution is, of course, the one generally (p 88) accepted today in one form or another. Wolfgang Kohler stated it most succinctly from the point of view of Gestalt psychology when he said: "It is not the actual future, the future as such, toward which we are directed in our planning, and in which we perceive our goals; it is that part of an actually present phenomenal field which we call the 'future' " (62, p. 380). Adler's fictional or subjective finalism or teleology does not violate Kurt Lewin's principle of the contemporaneity of motivation (68, p. 34). Adler's fictional (subjective) goal is a present one; it derives its great importance from the postulate that it is an ever-present goal (1930a, p. 5), although it is not necessarily present in consciousness. "We can comprehend every single life phenomenon, as if the past, the present, and the future together with a superordinated, guiding idea were present in it in traces" (1912a, p. iii). If we translate "as if" into "subjective" we find that this sentence refers to the subjective past, present, and future as being present in the phenomenological field in trance.

Vaihinger Fictions are mental structures. The psyche weaves this aid to thought out of itself; for the mind is inventive" ( see pp. 77-78) . Fictional structures are thus creations of the individual. It is the true nature of the individual's hidden goal which constitutes, according to Adler, the essential content of the unconscious. The term fictional goal also expressed Adler's conviction that the origin of the goal is, in the last analysis, not reducible to objective determiners. Although the objective factors of heredity and environment, organ inferiorities, and past experiences are utilized by the individual in the process of forming his final goal, the latter is still a fiction, a fabrication, the individual's own creation. Such causality corresponds to "soft" determinism, that is, "determinism from the inner nature of life," as contrasted to "hard" determinism "from external pressures alone" (William James, according to Murphy, 84, pp. 644-645) .  Adler was not aware of the term "soft" determinism, nor of Jaspers' distinction between external, objective causation and internal, subjective causation ( see pp. 13-14) . When Adler rejects causality without qualification, he is in fact rejecting "hard" determinism or external causation.  Thus each time the word cause or any of its derivatives is found below, the reader should understand it to signify external, objective causation, the old causa efficiens. It is only this which Adler rejected and not internal causation or the old causa finalis.
Adler developed a theory of personality based upon: (1) inferiority feelings and inferiority complex, (2) striving for superiority, (3) style of life, (4) social interest, (5) birth order, (6) fictional finalism, (7) the creative self, (8) masculine protest, (9) the interpretation of dreams, and (10) theory of psychotherapy. 
(Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher, Introduction to The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler)


The perceptions are meaningless in themselves; but the emotions are worse, for they delude their victim into supposing them significant and true.
Every emotion is an obsession; the most horrible of blasphemies is to attribute any emotion to God in the macrocosm, or to the pure soul in the microcosm.
How can that which is self-existent, complete, be moved? It is even written that “torsion about a point is iniquity.”
(Aleister Crowley, Book 4)


How flattering to the pride of man to think that the stars on their courses watch over him, and typify, by their movements and aspects, the joys or the sorrows that await him! He, in less proportion to the universe than the all-but invisible insects that feed in myriads on a summer's leaf are to this great globe itself, fondly imagines that eternal worlds were chiefly created to prognosticate his fate.
(Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds)


Piaget divides ideas about consciousness into four stages. Children in the first stage (typically up to six or seven years) think anything that is somehow active is conscious. Clouds and wind are conscious because they move and the sun and moon are conscious because they give light. Similarly, a wooden bench feels being burned, a wall feels being knocked down, and a string feels being twisted. Anything that is the seat of some action, feels it. In the second stage, from six or seven years to eight or nine, children limit consciousness to things that move: sun, moon, wind, fire, bicycles, and clocks, but not stones or chairs. In the third stage, from eight or nine years to eleven or twelve, children limit consciousness even further, to things which move of their own accord, including most moving natural phenomena but not such things as bicycles and boats. After eleven or twelve, children usually attribute consciousness only to animals, although sometimes to plants as well.
(Stewart Guthrie, Faces in the Clouds)


The post-language subject; that is the subject we can purify so elegantly in mathematical logic. Only, there is still always something to be cited, something that was already there. The subject is manufactured by a certain number of articulations that have taken place, and falls from the signifying chain in the way that ripe fruit falls. As soon as he comes into the world he falls from a signifying chain, which may well be complicated or at least elaborate, and what we call the desire of his parents is subjacent to that very chain. It would be difficult not to take that into account in the fact of his birth, even, and especially, when it was, precisely, a desire for him not to be born.
(Jacques Lacan, My Teaching, page 44)


Conditions of well-functioning are met when there is an appropriate match between behavior and the states tracked in the environment. If the swampman has his needs met and flourishes, then his actual environment meets that condition and can supply the representational content. Hence the swampman can have phenomenal character, and so can his grandchildren. (How bitter a pill for the poor swampman who is not flourishing to find out that precisely because he is not flourishing, his agony is unreal!)
(Ned Block, Is Experiencing Just Representing?)


But you must… now that you’ve come back to yourself, or rather, to us again, now that we’re here, among ourselves, in our innermost being, you must look again at what you showed them, that form you gave rise to in them, one of the ones that they are used to, of classic simplicity… it may prevent you from exposing yourself to them in the future… Try, make an effort…
(Nathelie Sarraute, You Don’t Love Yourself, page 3)


As for old people… well, they have often been so well trained throughout their long lives to feel “real,” that in the end they can’t manage to be anything other than that: really perfect models… some of them must think they deserve to be seen as “the very image of old age.”
(Nathalie Sarraute, You Don’t Love Yourself, page 7)


That’s the whole point. What can we do to make an image of ourselves stick all over us, take shape, remain fixed long enough…
Yes, for us to be able to contemplate it…
A beautiful image…
Oh, not even beautiful… an image of ourselves that we would love just as it is…
That wouldn’t be transformed into an enormous shifting mass… Which contains everything… in which so many dissimilar things collide, destroy each other…
(Nathalie Sarraute, You Don’t Love Yourself, page 8)


Now the doctrines which find most favour with the populace are those which are either contentious and pugnacious, or specious and empty ; such, I say, as either entangle assent or tickle it. And therefore no doubt the greatest wits in each successive
age have been forced out of their own course; men of capacity and intellect above the vulgar having been fain, for reputation's sake, to bow to the judgment of the time and the multitude ; and thus if any contemplations of a higher order took light
anywhere, they were presently blown out by the winds of vulgar opinions. So that Time is like a river, which has brought down to us things light and puffed up, while those which are weighty and solid have sunk.
(Francis Bacon, The Works of Francis Bacon)


I define the Neutral as that which outplays the paradigm, or rather I call Neutral everything that baffles paradigm… Whence the idea of a structural creation that would defeat, annul, or contradict the implacable binarism of the paradigm by means of a third term.
(Roland Barthes, The Neutral)


...every inflection that, dodging or baffling the paradigmatic, oppositional structure of meaning, aims at the suspension of the conflictual basis of discourse.
(Roland Barthes, The Neutral)


You will remember Bunyan’s Passion and Patience: naughty passion played with all his toys and broke them, good little Patience put them carefully aside. Bunyan forgets to mention that by the time Passion had broken all his toys, he had outgrown them.
(Aleister Crowley, Book 4)


If an outstanding effect takes place, a catastrophe, for example, it could not not have taken place; nonetheless, insofar as it did not take place, it is not inevitable. It is thus the event’s actualization – the fact that it takes place – which retroactively creates its necessity.
(Jacques Dupuy from Slavoj Zizek, In Defense of Lost Causes)


Perhaps this attitude is today more relevant than ever: the situation is “completely hopeless,” with no clear “realistic” revolutionary perspective; but does this not give us a kind of strange freedom, a freedom to experiment? One has only to throw away the deterministic model of “objective necessities” and obligatory “stages” of development? One has thus to sustain a minimum of anti-determinism: nothing is ever written off, in an “objective situation” which precludes any act – precisely because, to paraphrase Rosa Luxemburg’s critique of reformisim, it is not enough to wait patiently for the “right moment” of the revolution. If one merely waits for it, it will never come, for one has to start with “premature” attempts which – therein lies the “pedagogy of the revolution” – in their very failure to achieve their professed goal create the (subjective) conditions for the “right” moment. Recall Mao’s slogan “from defeat to defeat, to the final victory,” which better echoes Beckett’s already-quoted motto: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
(Slavoj Zizek, In Defense of Lost Causes)


Someone said, 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know.
(T.S. Eliot, Selected Essays)


The past is what we know, but we're not aware of knowing it.
(Harold Bloom)


In that case nothing would be lost in joining the procession wherever.
(George Santayana, Skepticism and Animal Faith)


Human culture has preferred the message of Jesus to that of Socrates.
(Paul Kurtz, The New Skepticism)


Candide, amazed, terrified, confounded, astonished, all bloody, and trembling from head to foot, said to himself, “If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others? If I had only been whipped, I could have put up with it, as I did among the Bulgarians; but, not withstanding, oh my dear Pangloss! my beloved master! thou greatest of philosophers!
(Voltaire, Candide)


A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not.
(Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies)


By convention sweet is sweet, by convention bitter is bitter, by convention hot is hot, by convention cold is cold, by convention colour is colour. But in reality there are atoms and the void. That is, the objects of sense are supposed to be real and it is customary to regard them as such, but in truth they are not. Only the atoms and the void are real.
(Democritus)


Inertia of acceleration
(Jean Buadrillard, Simulacra and Simulation)


If we are effectively to reconceptualize the notion of revolution in the Benjaminian sense of stopping the “train of history” which runs toward a catastrophe, it is not enough just to submit the standard notion of historical process to critical analysis; one should also focus on the limitation of the ordinary “historical” notion of time: at each moment of time, there are multiple possibilities waiting to be realized; once one of them actualizes itself, others are canceled. The supreme case of such an agent of historical time is the Leibnizean God who created the best of possible worlds: before creation, He had in his mind the entire panoply of possible worlds, and His decision consisted in choosing the best one among these options. Here, the possibility precedes choice: the choice is a choice among possibilities. What is unthinkable within this horizon of linear historical evolution is the notion of a choice/act which retroactively opens up its own possibility: the idea that the emergence of something radically New retroactively changes the past – of course, not the actual past (we are not in science fiction), but the past possibiities, or, to put it in more formal terms, the value of the modal propositions about the past.
(Slavoj Zizek, In Defense of Lost Causes)


When people talk about the possibility of foreknowledge of the future they always forget the fact of the prediction of one’s own voluntary movements.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Philosophical Investigations)


...the tribunal of succeeding times…
(Samuel Johnson, Rambler No. 2)


I hate a fellow drinker with a memory.
(Erasmus, Praise of Folly)



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