Friday, June 29, 2012

chronos versus kairos, pt 176 / digital versus analogue, pt 16589

A Scarlet Tracery:

"Difficult not to think that one of the most telling features of pop now is the play-counter on iTunes & Last FM. One of the reasons I buy mostly vinyl now... is the experience of listening w/out a continual awareness of time, crawling or dashing on, & the number of times you listen to a song...  The only way of telling how often a vinyl record has been played is how worn-down the grooves are... how bad the sound’s become... The only other court of measurement was the charts, w/ wh/ one’s experience of listening to a record would concur or diverge....  Reading [Guralnick's Presley biog]  the strangeness of the screaming crowds that... greeted the band everywhere they played – so loud as to drown out any attempt at a gig... isn’t simply the seemingly impossible libidinal expenditure (now that pop has become a lifestyle accessory)...  [but] the possibility of recognising oneself in the massed objectivity of the crowd, the flashed face of the World Spirit. The slowly ascending number of Last FM plays testifies to the inviolability of one’s island of taste, the justification for solipsism posing as music writing"

Yes yes and one other thing about the Analogue System and the sale of music in the form of physical objects is that it provided a metric for whether things mattered and also whether you and other people cared about them enough to actually pay money for them...  (which could also include being so curious/intrigued/buzzed/hyped that you'd buy them unheard, a sort of gamble, a bet on a future state of caring-so-much-you-are-prepared-to-pay). 

it seems much harder for things aquired in pure digital form (either paid for or particularly in the case of downloaded for nowt) to accrue personal value....  the dematerialised nature of it seems to tending unavoidably to immateriality (in its second dictionary sense: "of no substantial consequence", not mattering).

I suppose you can tell something by the number of repeat plays you give an MP2 or podcast or whatever, but that can might relate to contingent laziness or something being playable in the sense of not interfering with other activities, slipping comfortably into the background, not imposing itself... there are records that have made much deeper impression on me that i've only played a few times compared with things that get a lot more play because they're more compatible with everyday life functioning, are more palatable to other family members...  

But it's the Analogue Time aspect of the Analogue System that seems most precious and most jeopardised... the time measurement function on your iPod or on YouTube, the irresistible temptation to cut off before it's fully unfolded, or skip to something else...  pushing us by some diabolic logic towards the Thomas Jerome Newton / 12 TV screens brink of trying to listen to two pieces of music  at once ...  maximise your time, because time is quantitative, a scarce resource

Chronos, kairo and aeon (via):

Like English, the Greek language of the New Testament, has a wealth of terms to express the experience of time.  There are three words that are used most often:
                Chronos: a point of time, a short span of time, linear, orderly, quantified.
                Kairos: the right moment, opportune time, rhythmic; and
                Aeon: a long period of time, or eternity.
Unfortunately, most of us live in allegiance to chronological time. The clock, by which chronological time is measured, and our daily fix of caffeine often elevate our blood pressure, making us feel constantly rushed.   Time is money, and money makes the world go ‘round and to the speedy belong the spoils.  Of course there are deadlines to meet, kids to put to bed, jobs to be done and a thousand and one other things.  This is where we live most of the time. Sadly, it can drive us to places we would rather not be, like blurting out, “I just don’t have time for this!”
Sabbath creates kairos.  When I sat with my children in the darkness of my son’s room, the three of us entered a Sabbath moment. The quality of the time changed from a frustrated, stressed-out chronological quagmire, to a graceful, renewing, pleasurable, kairotic moment.
Something else happened. I felt God’s presence in that time. It was as if we entered, however momentarily, into a place of aeon.  The ineffable presence of the Holy filled the room.  It was awesome. It was prayer. Sabbath creates opportunities for graceful transformation. Sabbath moves us from a quantified time, measured by a clock and calendar to a time measured only by God’s loving presence.

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