What it is, is the inverted bent of the i, the strong strike of the t. It is what some call time, others, the arrangement of space. The movement of the particle in the wave; the alphabet in the word; the image of the semi-colon; existing either as the particle or as the wave but rarely as both, unable to know Dependence and utterly dependent. Unable to see in the way the eye sees its body, but does not see an eye.
It is what I, the self-referential character, makes; by virtue of naming it, by virtue of writing it, by virtue of occupying it with ideas and activity, by virtue of assembling—collecting and cutting—it, by virtue itself. To make time is to know its parts, so as to measure meter and allow alliteration. To make time is to curb an infinity that we ourselves have imagined: Language creates what it cannot resolve; it has created a limitless lexicon in order to grasp the truth, but desires a boundedness that can contain this end. It is the wave that wants to peer into its particle. It can only live by means of elision—metaphor and simile likening it to the tangible known (“we used a certain sort of image to describe love’s passion”) [Plato, Phaedrus]—and die when it finds its own caesura, like the blank pages after the epilogue. To make time is to be sensitive to the presence of the Forms, and express the constant grasping for them from “down here”[Plato, Symposium], where reality is only a representation, an “imperfect copy” [Plato, The Republic] of “The Really Real”[Plato, The Republic]. In a sense, then, art is the decay—an event in which time passes—of nature, an expression of the obscure sorrows—or helpless happinesses—that our minds, prone to reason, cannot classify. To make—art—is an ontological act; “the living, breathing discourse of the man who knows, of which the written one can be fairly called an image”[Plato, Phaedrus].
These three relationships between time and writing are inextricably linked to each other by paradox, for metaphor itself has no Ideal Form, instead it incessantly refers back to itself in order to evoke the new, creating an endless chain of metaphors that express what cannot be expressed. “Creating something out of nothing is a kind of poetry”[Plato, Phaedrus]; a sequence without origin, forming meaning by altering the past to birth a new medium towards defining the undefinable. This comedy of imperfection suggests, somehow, that art cannot be created in the static Ideal; “all the great arts require endless talk and ethereal speculation about nature”[Plato, Phaedrus]—thus furthering Time into the perishable posterity, moving towards meeting infinity where it ends. If the problem of, say, squaring the circle, didn’t exist, then neither would Mathematics. Somehow, forming the mediums towards knowledge creates more knowledge than Knowledge itself. It and I keep knowledge in kinesis.
By ordering ether. Effectively, I am producing a medium, “giving birth” to an “in between”[Plato, Symposium], where the reader, in their re-interpretation of ideas, is able to step outside the linearities of time, and witness its perhaps more helix-like contortionist’s structure.
“Perhaps the reason why common objects in still life seem so transfigured and generally everything painted appears in a supernatural light is that we then no longer look at things in the flux of time and in the connection of cause and effect…. On the contrary, we are snatched out of that eternal flux of all things and removed into a dead and silent eternity. In its individuality the thing itself was determined by time and by the [causal] conditions of the understanding; here we see this connection abolished and only the Platonic Idea is left”[Schopenhaur, Manuscript Remains]. Writing seeks the illogical, fantastic fallacy of bundling time, blending it, changing its rhythm, leaving it harmony-less, until it is simply the intermezzo in an orchestra that goes unregistered by the untrained ear: “if a man has nothing more valuable than what he has composed or written, spending long hours twisting it around, pasting parts together and taking them apart—wouldn’t you be right to call him a poet”[Plato, Phaedrus]?
In this simultaneously systematic, chance-ridden universe of words, created and comprised of a lack, and its craftsmen tacitly aware of it, the ability for a sentence to start from itself and allow a constant reinvention of itself through time, is to perceive, as the listeners of Eleatic Palamedes did, “the same things to be both similar and dissimilar, both one and many, both at rest and also in motion”[Plato, Phaedrus]. Since the present is filtered through time, the writer must create an image from a shadow, created by an object behind, projected in front: “The contemporary is the one whose eyes are struck by the beam of darkness that comes from his own time… [who can] recognize in the obscurity of the present, the light that, without ever being able to reach us, is constantly voyaging towards us”[Agamben, What is the Contemporary].
What creates me is also the it, jumbled, traveling through superspace. The medium in which the medium travels, is, perhaps Love, as “it is not anywhere in another things, but itself by itself with itself, it is always one in form”[Plato, Symposium]. It is always one in form, and forms the bond of the elements of craft within the story itself: “love or passion establishes the continuity between the different forms of attraction”[Calvino, Six Memos for The Next Millennium]: of the will to create, the extrinsic forces of attraction between cause and effect within the story’s motives, and the insatiable longing, the lack always lustrous in the hollowed out letters. And the interminable distance to the thing being described till the final act of reading forms new morphemes. And the hope that the practice for it’s own sake will fill meaning not only with what it says, but also with the minus of the margins, giving way to a kind of seeing that is circular, whole and hole, shunya. So that action is always synecdochal. What I make, at best, is a frame for an image that might meet the Gods when “they mingle and converse with us through spirits”[Plato, Symposium]. What I leave is imprints, traces that may or may not be re-read later on for signs of meaning. All that is left is what.
by Himali Singh Soin