Monday, June 13, 2005

No time, just movement

Happened upon the most recent issue of Wired at my local rec center this weekend and have since then been planning to blog about this Peter Lynds fellow and his theory that "There is no 'now,' only sequences of events." After poking around to see what else I could learn about this guy (a college dropout who caused a small sensation after he placed his article "Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Continuity" in a peer-reviewed physics journal a couple of years ago), I discovered that a fellow rhet/comp blogger (Alex Reid) had already blogged about Lynds and had made a provocative connection to Deleuze in the process.

At any rate, the Lynds article caught my eye for several reasons:

(1) Time doesn't exist! Yea! So I can stop agonizing over how to manage it?

(2) An outsider managed to publish in a peer-reviewed journal. Intriguing.

(3) He reached his theory by contemplating Zeno's paradox. You know the one: an arrow must traverse an infinity of points before reaching its target. But it can never traverse an infinity of points. So how does the arrow ever reach its target? This is the same paradox Massumi, via Bergson, goes over in the introduction to Parables for the Virtual.

Here's Massumi: "A path is not composed of positions. . . . That continuity of movement is of an order of reality other than the measurable, divisible space it can be confirmed as having crossed" (6).

And Lynds's theory seems to say the same about time, as described by Wired: "reality is merely sequences of events that happen relative to one another; time is an illusion."

Traditional argumentation theory, via Aristotle, assumes that movement happens point by point: the linking up of enthymemes is the key to persuasion. But movement, according to these theories, doesn't happen in discrete moments or point by point. If our arguments fail to move, maybe they're bogged down by Newtonian models of time and space?

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