Time – On Whose Side?

The problem surely is one of change, and thus of time – and this, metaphorically, may be seen in the change of art. There is the famous failure of Leonardo: the fresco, applying a wrong formula. The problem with the technique is that one is not allowed to make any mistake: the paint goes immediately into the ground and nothing can be changed. Leonardo (as far as I remember for reasons of time pressure), wanted to take a short-cut to a majestic goal – and a short time after he finished his most beautiful painting it “collapsed”. Compare Zivny with this: there is now majestic goal – a modest one of creating, or even only shaping ephemeral beauty:

“Sand is one of the few materials I work with, and I like that it is ephemeral and the sand sculpture disappears.”

The tension, it only comes right now to my mind, is one of fascinating depth: it is the tension between living for the majestic goal of humankind and the ephemeral vision of individuals.

Sure, both have their value, and beauty …. – or at least truth.

But the challenge an question is: (How) Can we bring this together? – The other day I read in an article by John L. Allen Jr.

Americans await things to happen immediately, and generally interpret delay in terms of denial, incompetence, of cover-up. Rome[1], to put the point charitably, is a culture that puts a high premium on patience, and often interprets ‘rapid response’ as immaturity, superficiality, or going off half-cocked.[2]

And just having read

Skidelski/Skidelski

on

How much is Enough? Money and the Good Life

recently, I am wondering if there is really not more to say than directing moral appeals? After economics – as matter of science and politics – obviously failed, the only way out seems to be in some kind of prayers and quest for morality?

The reality came (another time) to my mind when I went for my earlyish round – the 1st of May 2014, about sixish passing Termini, the central train station:

All fine, but … – Italy, the country of kisses and light heartedness – but at that time in the morning at the said place: facing the homeless; if one leaves the shops at day time – the shops for ordinary people or those where people buy who do not know what to do with the money – it means too often looking into the faces of beggars; if one then is getting aware of the country’s lack of a revolution, the nobility still having the remote places for their festive gatherings (which in fact are part of daily life), …

Well, May-Day then: a huge people’s gathering, in the park. At least something: free sunshine for all.

No, I do not blame anybody: at least not those who enjoy as long as they can enjoy.

And though I am seemingly talking about Italy and Rome, I actually do not really talk about this place. What makes it – perhaps – special is a higher degree of visibility of certain problems …, problems that are also visible in other places, “wiped away” by some kind of “silent militarism”: the war that is at the external borders arguing with noisy sabre-rattling, has many disciplinary forms when directed internally. Later this year I will address this during a conference against militarism. My part will be looking at

The inner mobilisation of Europe – youth unemployment, racism and modernised forced labour.

Enough is enough – indeed it is not such a difficult-to-answer question: enough of violent policies, of policies that are utilising human beings as a kind canon fodder for profit-first-economies.

A reminder, a famous passage in a footnote in Chapter 31 of the first volume of Capital

―Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.‖ (T. J. Dunning, l. c., pp. 35, 36.)

 

[1]            meant to be the catholic church

[2]            John L. Allen Jr., 2013: The Church’s Message and The financial World: Lost in Translation; in: Institutions, Society and Markets: Towards a New International Balance?; A Cura di Alberto Quadrio Curzio/Giovanni Marseguerra; Vatican City: Libreria Editirice Vaticana: 141-155; here: 141 f.

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