Monday, May 3, 2010
Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books, either for a class with the Elizabeth Grosz or after having taken one with her. I am pretty sure I have written about Grosz's courses before, so if I have, please forgive the repetition.
I have had some great professors over the years -- most of them I consider great because they inspired me to pursue a train of thought that extended well beyond whatever class I was taking with them or because they introduced me to new ideas that added to what I already thought I knew about the world.
Grosz was a great professor because her thinking was so radical and new that it forced me to rethink my understanding of the world. I can remember sitting in class and literally feeling my head hurt because her ideas were undermining so many of the things I thought I knew, all at the same time.
Certain concepts had become so ingrained as to have become second nature, habit, and so the feeling was of having to suddenly learn to write with the other hand or bat from the other side of the plate. I am still not sure I understand much of what she was talking about regarding time, evolution, eternal return, memory, duree, etc etc etc, but the memory of refashioning my thought to try to understand hers is vivid, almost visceral.
Time is one of the assumed yet irreducible terms of all discourse, knowledge, and social practice. Yet it is rarely analyzed or self-consciously discussed in its own terms. It tends to function as a silent accompaniment, a shadowy implication underlying, contextualizing, and eventually undoing all knowledges and practices without being their explicit object of analysis or speculation. Time has a quality of intangibility, a fleeting half-life, emitting its duration-particles only in the passing or transformation of objects and events, thus erasing itself as such while it opens itself to movement and change. It has an evanescence, a fleeting or shimmering, highly precarious "identity" that resists concretization, indication or direct representation. Time is more intangible than any other "thing," less able to be grasped, conceptually or psychically. This is perhaps why Derrida...wants to grant it the status of the invisible, the scotomized: that to which we are blind.