Toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey the astronaut “Dave” experiences Time as a series of jump cuts. Scenes flashing by devoid of any kind of narrative structure. He is eating a meal, he is watching a glass of wine fall to the ground, he is laying on his bed.
Life in the lock-down can be a little like that.
We move from place to place wondering less about where we are and more about when we are. “Was it yesterday I went to the supermarket or last Friday?” “Why have I lost track of regular meal times?”
And that’s a reminder that Time only seems linear because we try to make it so.
Like fishing vessels adrift on an endless ocean we throw out marker buoys to create the illusion of progress.
The religions of the world have tried to solve the problem of understanding Time by adding circularity to the linear. With their Passovers and Easters and Ramadans and May the Fourth’s and so on and so on ad infinitum.
But those of us who only experience these events as secular points of vague interest are forced to turn to the only true religion of the modern era.
For every sport there is a season and each new season is a reassuring marker buoy to be noted and logged.
But, now that even sport is gone, what is there to give us anchor?
We can no longer make sense of Time because Time doesn’t make sense. Or rather, our senses can’t make sense of Time without the filter of all the “static” events we have carefully manufactured.
Our reality is only comprehensible when viewed through the filter of our illusions.
Gradually though we are creeping back toward the normal, or the “new normal” at least, and we will once again find ourselves secure in the footholds of schedules and tables and team sheets.
We will once again live through Time and not in it.
The last few weeks will no doubt change the way we think about many things. But will it also change the way we think about the way we think about many things?