Tag Archives: Poetry

Musings on Time and the Other

Generally unbeknownst to many, language and history have given us cliff notes versions of temporality. Assumptions given in this fashion can and does become absolutizing even, ‘self-evident’ and innate. Can we think perhaps, in some sense, apriori analytic judgements in Kant’s vernacular. They may even reproduce themselves in the lexicon of logic. However, as Einstein and Husserl demonstrated in great detail, time is not static. The sense of temporality as static, sensed presence or reality is what Husserl calls Präsenzzeit. It is a historical derivation we deem as common sense or ‘reality’. In everyday life we assume clock time is absolute. In this notion, physics and lived-life proceed from a universal, clock machine. Time is neatly divided in linear ‘now’ moments which uniformly proceed from a past to a present to a future. It turns out that in the early 20th century, this notion was uniformly dismissed as ‘real’ or accurate in physics and philosophy.

To start with, there is never a time which exists apart from our bodily sensation of time. The idealization of time as a uniform ‘reality’ is not a reality of physics but a reality of a specific history. This particular history can be traced all the way back to the classic Greek notion of nun or presence as the now moment which was a moving image of eternity. For the Greeks, eternity was not thought as we think of it as endless time but, curious enough, more like current physics which thinks the speed of light where nothing changes or as Aristotle tells us eternity never moves or changes as the unmoved mover (ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, or more colorfully: ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, literally ’that which moves without being moved’). An abstraction distorts and mis-represents reality as something which it is not. As lived experience no one has ever experienced time as an abstract notion of presence which is a moving image of the changeless; more widely thought as a linear now-moments in the idea of clock time (a historic, mechanical notion of the flux of time).

Furthermore, time is not uniform but widely stratified and layered in our experience of it. Our bodies have a dynamic stretch of temporality as we age, we become ill, have varying health conditions. Our experience of time also varies with mood such as anxiety or excitement. We tend to psychologize these notions away as some aberration of time in order to protect the sanctity of our historic idealization of temporality. We also may rationalize our idealization as ‘scientific’, but the fact is that this notion of time has to do with Newton and classic physics, absolute time and space, which finally met its end in Einstein. Did you know that you age more on top a mountain than in a valley because of the mass of the earth? Also, moving faster relative to another frame of reference causes you to age slower. Each one of us has an absolutely unique but measurable space-time bubble which enshrouds us our entire lifetime. We are also comingled with other temporalities such as geological, relativity of space-time in frames of perspective, and even biological in all the varying biology of our bodies – cells dying and being replaced, youth, middle age, old age all mark epochs in out biological time. We also experience the time of the other which intervenes and interrupts in our deliberations and moods – our temporalized affects. Have you ever experienced a disruption of your dismal mood when your friend showed up?

All of space-time is tossed by turbulent collisions of massive black holes resulting in cacophonous distortions of space-time, silently playing through being, our being, in spatial-temporal variations. Variations where awareness remains oblivious except for the proprioceptive stretch of time over epochs (movements) of lived-life. Since time and space are the same phenomenon, can we assume just as space can be traversed in many directions so can time? Worm holes in space would be ‘time machines’ which would alter space temporally to allow vast distances to be traveled in vastly shorter amounts of time. Nothing could ever be seen as entering a block hole as time would stop, from our perception, at the event horizon but not from the perspective of the object entering it. Physics tells us that at the accretion disk of a black hole time and space are so radically twisted that the chronology we expect from a past to a future, cause and effect, would be so radically jumbled such that time events would be more like an unassembled puzzle without what we would think as continuity. It would even be possible to leave a place before you entered it. Furthermore, at the singularity of a black hole, all motion and change would cease reminding us of Aristotle’s unmoved mover.

In Quantamagazine, Dan Falk tells us,

Einstein’s masterpiece, the general theory of relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics. The laws that underlie these theories are time-symmetric — that is, the physics they describe is the same, regardless of whether the variable called “time” increases or decreases. Moreover, they say nothing at all about the point we call “now” — a special moment (or so it appears) for us, but seemingly undefined when we talk about the universe at large. The resulting timeless cosmos is sometimes called a “block universe” — a static block of space-time in which any flow of time, or passage through it, must presumably be a mental construct or other illusion. (Falk)

The standard acceptance of the block universe understands reality as static. Time as flowing through now-moments is a ‘metal construct’ or, for the purposes of this post, perhaps we can think of a shared historic narrative of a particularly occidental text taken as ‘reality’. The block universe are referential frames which have no implied priorities as that would imply a kind of mystic frame overlayed on vastly different temporal-spatial regionalities. In effect, the block universe denies any such thing as a ‘now’. It is deterministic and denies any absolute construction of cause and effect.

Of course, there are competing and contrarian proponents of such a deterministic reality. Entropy has been employed as a linear, deterministic temporalization to support a progression of time. One physicist I find interesting is George Ellis who advocates an evolving block universe (EBU). In such a scheme the boundary conditions of a block-universe can be thought as a surface where the “the indefiniteness of the future changes to the definiteness of the past”. So, the present can be thought as this surface boundary which expands the universe itself into an indeterminate future. So, while all the temporal cards can be shuffled in any temporal fashion the cards themselves can be increased by the uncertainty of quantum mechanics, specifically Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. In this way he attempts to unite quantum mechanics and relativity. Note that this whole debate has nothing to do with psychological perceptions or subjective perspectives but empirical observations on the nature of reality. This further exemplifies why the absolute space and time of Newton, the dualism of Kants noumena (thing-in-itself), and the startling ramifications of relativity can no longer be thought in abstract terms such as subject/object, mind/body, spirit/matter, and even nature/nurture. Those distinctions coinciding with physics in the 20th century naively deny philosophical confluences perhaps starting in Kant through Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and postmodern thinkers who make such implacable boundaries something other than self-evident.

The evolving spatial-temporal truths of radically, heterogenous philosophical realities in our era have little to do with the history of substance and things, whether in-themselves or not, but more to do with multifarious, intimately interactive, flows through and in us as music.

Gravitational waves from the big bang are still surging space-time, swelling with undulating crescendos to monster fortissimo receding into quiescent, glistening, pianissimo of space-time. Reality seems to engage us as song where both listener and listened dance together as emergent reciprocity which can not be one or the other but co-determined and determining in the dance of spirits. The voices of our musical dance have more to with what has largely been in lost in modern languages. However, ancient languages all over the world including ancient Greece had what linguists and, my friend Dr. Wendell, Kisner call the middle-voice.

Space and time are not static but widely stratified on many different levels. It is more like a silent symphony where there are many parts all playing simultaneously from which we draw a ‘whole of meaning’, as sense of uniformity in the movement of widely varying harmonies and melodies. The meaning we draw from the symphony makes it something other than pure random noise. We find ourselves drawn to the flow of its movements. Movements in a symphony have a stretch of quality not just tempo. It is wide ranging from ecstatic to depressing. We draw meaning from this incalculable variety. In the same way, time and space is the movement of meaning for living humans. We draw from its deep wells. These wells are called history and language. We did not create these wells. They are not merely subjective as if to imply they are extraneous or the product of an imagined hermetically sealed self we think as ‘I’. And, as Nietzsche, prophesied, be careful, “If you stare too long into the abyss, then it stares back at you.” The void can no longer remain cacophonous but bows to the determinations you bring to it and the ones it brings to you as moments which you create and are created by.

We should give place to our capacity for history and language as an incredible but widely varying diversity from which meaning and themes can be derived. These phenomena filter the radical alterities which we are into uniformities which separate musicality from mere noise or more precisely make impossible diversities into capabilities for actions and movements. However, the danger of this marvelous ability which we are is to think of them in terms of self-authorship, homogenous origin, absolute knowledge and thus: power.

Reality as such is a wonderous idea which overflows itself and, in this way, reminds us of minuets which long for more in their entrancements. We are not authors of reality. Reality is not homogenous. It has no home or origin in which it resides as eternity or God. It is without origin and in this sense chaotic. However, we draw meaning from what we name reality as we do from music. Language and history and have no single author. Their authors have long since passed into the uniformity of words and ideas. Even the Hebrew God tells us after the fall that “now man has become like one of US”.

Reality is historic shorthand for the absolute other as it pervades me and my assumed ownership of it. In this sense we are creators of the meaning we derive from it and what it endows with us. However, when we artificially try to impose universal meaning to reality, we position ourselves in opposition to it. Reality again and again wants to refresh us with its own refrain in our entrancement with it. Likewise, the other – our wife, a stranger, a child interrupts our linguistic monologue. We hear another song from the other which, with a still small voice, asks us to listen, to take note, to give place to another moment, another movement. When we move with what moves us, we dance with the gods and take leave of static abode which promises security but only delivers perpetual demise in reduction, stagnation and meaningless repetition and death. The muses invite us to sing in the symphonic voices of others which have no relation to animate and inanimate but a necromancy which our many deaths fail to author, own, or extinguish.

Further reading…


Aylesworth, G. (n.d.). Postmodernism. (E. N. Zalta, Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/postmodernism/

DiSalle, R. (n.d.). Space and Time: Inertial Frames. (E. N. (ed.), Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 Edition). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2020/entries/spacetime-iframes/

Ellis, G. F. (2005). PHYSICS AND THE REAL WORLD. Physic Today. Retrieved from http://www.mth.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/32/Staff/Emeritus_Professors/Prof_George_Ellis/Overview/realworld.pdf

Falk, D. (n.d.). A Debate Over the Physics of Time. Quantamagazine. Retrieved from https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-debate-over-the-physics-of-time-20160719/

Hilgevoord, J. a. (n.d.). The Uncertainty Principle. (E. N. Zalta, Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/qt-uncertainty/


Swirling, Whirling, Worlding

Swirling, whirling, worlding snow

Shimmering, soft white into half lit fog

Walking up my mountain

From home to peak

How many lives have I made this journey?

Now, frosted Aspen branches

Delicate, curling intricately

Telling their gnarly story silently

Thriving, striving, intertwining

Barely visible in blazing sun

But now, icy frost gives them voice

Burgeoning, budding a snowy history

Thinking, reflecting, working up this hill

Active, passive

Relationships, meaning, beauty, grammar, structure, analysis

Intertwined in different temporalities

With these branches, this snow, my mountain

We kiss each other as our distances

We silently mingle in ways not present

Undercurrents never seen

But shown up from time to time as history, as frost

Soon to melt and return us to our anonymity

This road, I labor to the top

Winding as the Aspen branches

Now, viewing brilliant white fields

Made by ravaging, relentless fires

Another history shown by the dark, burnt tree trunks

Set against the white snow and half lit fog

I reach my peak

This place where the earth ends and the sky begins

I kiss eternity with my frosted beard

I stand erect towards my end, my mortality, my horizon

I stare into an abyss of half lit fog blowing snow

Not seeing past this eerie gray curtain

But knowing the expansive precipice,

the mountainous splendor that awaits another day

I marvel at my swirling, whirling, worlding, shimmering, glimmering


And what remains below, underneath, silent

But giving birth to the stars and the earth

This my place under the sky, over the earth and intertwined with all

This my mountain between peak and home is my soul.

Balance of Earth and Sky

Oh what a delicate balance of earth and sky we are

Sky never knows to forget

Earth never forgets to know

Only humankind can drink from the grail of forgetfulness

The sorrows of death

The moment of enlightenment

All washed into the same abysmal extinction

We are drenched in the future and re-invented from the fading past

Until… the future dries…The past cries it last pangs…

The sun continues speaking its ancient wisdom to our souls without a word…

And, we are no more – taken into the night

Our places shimmer on for the quickly fading moments of those left behind until they also move to dark

And then, imprints we left without our names, without our faces carry on to those we never knew.

By this then, we become the sky that never knew and the earth that never forgot and we no longer are that humankind that forgets – we are the earth and sky and we erase the steps of mortals for their pleasure.

Logos, High Ghost, Eros

I live in your words

Where my orb is bound and measured

In the grace of your spoken moment.

Your words stake me to the ground

And lift me to soar with eagles.

They rain on my weariness

And let me stand naked

Shimmering in the ecstasy of a million new suns.

I am spoken as your erupting beauty

And cease to exist in your silence.

I blaze in your atmosphere

And burn as your presence.

Borne on your whispering wings

To the moment when all shadows

Release their darkness

To a morning that never was.


I dance.

We dance.

This body resistance.

This old man in my sea.

This silent stranger that speaks more with silence than all words.

In youth the old man sleeps.

In mid life the old man rouses my attention.

This body resistance is my inner earth, my gravity.

My soul lites as moths to the lantern.

Our dance flys through morning lit cathedrals

And bells that rise towards the echoed horizon.

Fields of pleasure and pain glimmer through our life dance.

We play, we sleep, we eat, we love.

All the while the body resistance is quiet.

Yet overflowing with the wisdom of the earth, the mountains, the rivers.

This body that loves the dirt and always returns

Yet for a moment we played, we sang, we danced,

And…we died.


Oh wistful night of a million suns.

Spawn dancing shadows from nameless orbs.

Through stellar darkness light years are thrown.

Perchance dark grace our sun or moon

And primal night fire my heart drum.


Oh wistful thoughts of a million souls

Spawn dancing shadows from nameless histories.

Through unconscious darkness years are thrown.

Perchance dark grace our I or other.

And primal projections fire my loves.

Earth (an old one from a young time)

Gathering together within we move sometimes apart, sometimes mingled but always we move together.  We who are not yet the murmur of leave’s praise for wind or morning shadows setting the world afire with renewed hope.  We who dance together silently with words filling the night with songs.  Once we delight, I knew a place, we were a place.  I hear the places we were and are and will be.  Even the place where our songs have ceased, the place that knows us no more, especially that place, moves with our inner delight.  Our laughter reverberates in sun-filled cathedrals and finds crevices we know not.

Dream Medley

The strands of her long, silky hair

Flow across my night sky

Caressing and tickling my demons

My barely lit moments

Woven as her tapestry

Stretched across this ghostly horizon

Long lost to soothing incantation

As the forgotten gods

But marking this buried treasure

And measuring this glorious once

She wakens and rises

To meet me

In my dreams




Dreams of fire wrapped joy

Of earth sobbed pain

Of sky soared home

Of water drenched fear

Of places never seen and rooms never known

Of faces familiar and not

We sink from their moments

We crawl from their concerns

Our logic and history find no place

As we open our eyes to another morn

And shake off another night

And yet still, somehow

We carry our night worlds

Into all our day lights




Where do the gifts of promise and light fall

When they fall from our skies?

The children that never grew old,

The loves that died in their youth

Where do you go?

What heaven do you light?

Perhaps you fall as seeds into an other earth

And there spawn futures we’ll never know!

Caribbean Night

Did I tell you I bought a sailboat?
Did I tell you I live in Caribbean night?
Adrift, enveloped
By big bosomed women.
Inviting, beautiful.
Women that do not know my name
And invite me to do the same.
Adrift, enveloped
By dark tropical seas.
Inviting, beautiful
Seas that do not know my name
And invite me to do the same.
Did I tell you a sailboat brought me
Through Caribbean night to tell you

The Gaze of Spring

Spring returns in your eyes.

Youth springs eternal in your gaze.

Your waters ever flow through my soul.

Watering my spirit with your beauty (body).

You see yourself anew in my eyes.

You scare yourself again in my gaze.

Who looks at you with love’s eyes?

Is it someone you knew long ago or someone you never knew but needed to?

Love stirs the soul beyond itself.

It rouses the canvas for which it desires to paint.

It empties its deepest content on the blank tablet of the other.

It holds open the world to the new and the old.

It marks time with its contour.