Anathem, Augustine, and Time
Here’s an entry to build on past this evening. What do techno-hypermodernism, medieval monastics, and we in our own frictional existence have in common?
9/16–The primary reference is to Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which should be in release since September 9th. (See the article in the Sep 2008 Wired .) Set on the planet Arbe where the people are either the Saecular (anti-environmental consumerist, sybaritics) or the monastic avaunts or auts who live and think amid ritual in the mathic world inside walled concents (sounds a bit like “cloisters,” eh?). The four divisions of auts — Unarians, Decenarians, Centenarians, and Millennarians — are free to venture out of their assigned or chosen (?) concents according to classification: by year, decade, century, and millennium.
Time is the central focus.
Already this sounds restrictive. But suppose there could be an inversion of socio-cultural values that prized slowed time rather than life-lived-at-ever-increasing-velocity-with-no-end-in-sight — and decreasing returns on one’s efforts?
Some things to consider short of further comment for today:
First, the Christian tradition holds and provides an ideal, or varieties of the ideal, for maximizing time: one in forms of the monastic tradition; another in expressions of Pietism; and another in personal expressions of piety and devotion, to name three examples. And then — shall we never forget? — Sabbath, with an extra bolt of wisdom from the Israelitic/Judaic tradition.
Second, Jesus said something about rest; perhaps we should attend to that, too.
More later . . . .