"Needless to say, this is not the usual way in which we describe the history of the universe—it is the conventional sequence of events told backward in time. But the laws of physics work equally well run forward or backward in time. Thus, this sequence is as legitimate as the usual one. It serves the purpose of driving home just how unlikely the entire history of our observable universe really is."

The Cosmic Origins of Time's Arrow
Sean M. Carroll - Scientific American
May 2008

via Cosmic Variance: "Despite appearances, this really is just the standard cosmology, not some fairy tale. I just chose to tell it from the point of view of a time coordinate that is oriented in the opposite direction from the one we usually use..."

The Dream Before (for Walter Benjamin)
[Laurie Anderson: 1989]
click title to listen

Hansel and Gretel are alive and well
And they're living in Berlin
She is a cocktail waitress
He had a part in a Fassbinder film
And they sit around at night now drinking schnapps and gin
And she says: Hansel, you're really bringing me down
And he says: Gretel, you can really be a bitch
He says: I've wasted my life on our stupid legend
When my one and only love was the wicked witch.
She said: What is history?
And he said: History is an angel being blown backwards into the future
He said: History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel backwards into the future
And this storm, this storm is called Progress

On the Concept of History
[Walter Benjamin: 1940]

"There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and his wings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment . . . to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise, it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm."

from the archive: 26 May 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment