I often find it easier to think about time in terms of space, in terms of the way we can abstract and spatialize time for a number of broadly mathematical operations. I think that’s pretty common, because we are better suited to conceiving of space than we are to conceiving of time. We can use our better grasp of space to ‘sneak up’ on time.
Yesterday was a good day in numerous small ways and one of them was following a little nudge to wander by the library. I walk by the new books shelf and the first thing I see is Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism by Andrei A. Orlov. After having just had a lengthy post about mimesis, it feels like someone dropping an anonymous note through my mail slot, so I picked it right up.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
From W. B. Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium”
It was a cold autumn evening as I waited on some friends to show up. I pulled my hood up and tugged it tight to keep the warmth a little closer. Its edges extended past my face, hedging out my peripheral vision. I could hear my breath inside the hood as I turned my body to look to the houses, pond, and trees, as I leaned back to tilt my face toward the sky. I had the sudden and visceral sense of being underwater, or maybe floating in space. For a few moments, I could imagine my life as one long dive.