March 02, 2015

Timing is Everything

"The idea that is overcome is not annihilated, only driven back or subordinated."Nietzsche

So why do I call these untimely meditations?

It doesn't seem like a very good marketing strategy to write a blog which has nothing to do with what is going on in the world today. I mean, isn't the whole point of a blog to be current and engaged; to be commenting on the latest news cycle in order to drive traffic and rack up hits? It would seem that the very nature of a blog is to be as TIMELY as possible.

And the answer to all this would be, yes—that is absolutely correct.

But, while being "untimely" does mean "not of your time," it can also mean "timeless," or "not bound by your time and place in history."

All ages contain their own prejudices—i.e. preconceived notions and modes of logic—that inevitably become so dominant that freedom of thought is restricted within its parameters. This is usually accomplished, though, not by force and censure, but through the laziness of intellectuals, grown fat and complacent on the success that comes from perpetuating the dominant ideas. It is only by becoming untimely that you are able to free yourself from their grasp and have the critical distance necessary to transcend it.

The goal, then, is not to be disconnected from the most important conversations of our day, but rather, to be able to bring a voice to them that is more than just an echo in the popular opinion chamber that surrounds us.

Once a particular mode of thought becomes ascendant, two things usually happen: 1) the alternatives become forgotten and covered over; and 2) all arguments become tautological. Once a framework of ideas becomes victorious, it tends to become self-reinforcing because all discussion now falls within the domain that it has created. All notions of Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, True/False are determined by it, while all alien ideas become excluded, or at the very least thought to be superfluous.

The only cure for this is untimeliness—to disentangle yourself from the spiderweb of the present; to drag yourself kicking and screaming out of the cultural cave that defines and restricts your horizons.

We now live in a time of extreme ossification of thought, with two competing teams who refuse to even listen to one another. However, it is a false dichotomy, both sides of which are based on the same unjustified simplification of human existence. Only by re-discovering the "driven back" and the "subordinated" may we break through the layers of garbage that now bury us and ever possibly make it to the sun.

And those who dare to be untimely, will end up becoming the most timely of all.

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