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Time Production

Knowledge can be produced, as can inequality, things, affection, ontologies, boundaries, entities, ideas, technologies, space, practices, values, nothing, politics, peace, epistemologies, hesitation, the ‘I’, sadness, stars, life, coffee, racism, cancer, resistance, wetness, meals, metaphysics, histories. Why not time? Time is usually taken as the container in which all things do or can occur – actually, or virtually.

Throughout the history of the West, hearkening back to an originary division in Greek thought, there exists a bifurcation of Nature. Structured by the arguments laid out in Plato’s Timaeus, the cosmos began with a simultaneity: Time and World. While there is some disagreement over the relationship between Time, World, and the Forms, the figure of the Forms held personified priority with the figure of the demiurge or God figure, who fashioned the world from Necessity with Intellect. This preChristian trinity would be restated in Genesis, where God fashioned the World out of nothing and before change, and then breathed Time – a separate action – to the World, inaugurating the rational order of existence, the Cosmos. We continue to find much confusion over the relationship between Time and World in cosmology and questions surrounding the Big Bang and quantum mechanics, and logic quickly runs amuck when attempting to talk of change before the beginning, a beginning before matter, change of something before there was anything, a being something before sum or things, an origin to the ‘beginning’.

The problem of beginnings is one of a central problem in philosophy (Deleuze/Feuerbach). To situate the problem, one needs to contrast beginnings with origins. Origins presuppose a foregrounding of activity wherein from the activities emerges the newness under consideration. The newness need not be a metaphysical uniqueness, and given the already genealogical essence of origins, each origin has a history – has not merely in a backward looking temporally assessment, but possessed or contained with.

Origin means to rise, arise, get up; become visible, appear. Beginnings, by contrast, mean to cut open, an opening up. Each provoke a different orientation of questions: from what do origin’s arise? What do beginnings cut or open? I would like to suggest that the difference is one of temporal orientation. The ‘from’ of origins is contemporaneouswith, while beginning separates out. The ‘with’ is a statement on existential juxtaposition, while the ‘out’ a statement on linear difference.

Rather than a metaphysics of beginnings or ex nihilio creation – whether old as in Platonism or the Abrahamic religions, or new, as in Meillassoux’s After Finituted – which sets World and Time apart and produces many metaphysical and ontological (and ethical) problems, remaining with and within origins may provide a metaphysics appropriate to/for an unbifurcated existence.



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