Nam si vos omnibus imperitare vultis, sequitur ut omnes servitutem accipiant?
(Tacitus, Annales XII, xxxvii)

8 Jan 2010

A Recovered Time

“...Humans have this strangeness. Equipped with memory and imagination, we try also to inhabit the past moment. If we are attentive, tactful, we can experience, to some degree, the likeness of bygone lives. My own work has long applied this idea. Naturally, this likeness will be a form of virtual rather than actual living, and if we lack attentiveness and tact, then our retrospectives can easily turn the past into a false or trivialised pretext by which to glorify or punish the present.

“But when we allow to history the fine texture of its evidence, the leeway of its own attitudes, our sensation of living in a recovered time feels like, and is, an enlargement of our being. We live, and we live as if… Our consciousness is both in time and across time. The planetary past can become as personal to us as yesterday.”

—Alan Gould, ‘The Yes-Wow Molecule’.

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