gumbs & solnit: time travel and nonlinearity

you know… this might sound weird as fuck, but i’m really starting to wrap my head around the whole “nonlinearity of time” stuff.

two places this has come up recently:

1. alexis pauline gumbs on how to survive the end of the world

all over this episode gumbs discusses how intentions and visions can be called across space and time to give us energy to do our work. the most thrilling example of this, to me, was her recounting how harriet tubman stated “my people are free” even as she was escaping slavery. and then returning to free them. she was reaching out into the future and bringing to her the reality that didn’t yet exist but would exist. and then she helped people escape.

not only that, but now people like gumbs (and many others of us) reach back to moses for inspiration for our struggles today. so in this weird, trippy, we are sort of all touching each other across time and place to keep moving in the directions we want.

2. rebecca solnit on on being

…my wonderful environmentalist friend, Chip Ward, likes to talk about the “tyranny of the quantifiable.” And I’ve been using that phrase of his for about 15 years and it is a kind of tyranny. And I think — and it does get mystical where you have to look at what’s not quantifiable. Martin Luther King is assassinated in 1968. A comic book about how civil disobedience works out was distributed during the Civil Rights Movement, gets translated into Arabic, and distributed in Egypt, and becomes one of the immeasurable forces that help feed the Arab Spring, which is five years old right now. And most of it doesn’t look that good, but they did overthrow a bunch of regimes. And the French Revolution didn’t really look very good five years out…

the way she talks about it, the actions in one place may not totally make sense in the context in which they occur. but if you take as truth that time and change aren’t linear processes, revolutions start to make a lot more sense.

“…David Graber has a wonderful passage about how the Russian revolution succeeded, but not really in Russia. It terrified, or at least motivated, leaders in Europe and North America and elsewhere to make enormous concessions to the rights of poor and workers, and really furthered economic justice in other places. And if you can say that a revolution was successful but not in the country it took place in, then you can start to trace these indirect impacts…“

in a sense, this might actually just be me coming back to my christian roots. when i was young, i did really resonate with the idea of God being omniscient and all-knowing, not because God had some crazy powers, but because, an the universal scale, every moment is connected to every other moment.

i can’t remember where i got this from (i think cynthia silva parker?) but i really like the idea of my own development/growth like using a floor buffer. it’s both spinning and moving forward. the pad might come back around to the same spot on the floor many times, but the whole thing can still have moved forward. plus, the floor is a different (hopefully a bit shinier) after each spin, ya know?

it definitely feels different this time, but it’s not new…


words / writing / post-processing
362w/ 13min / 13min