currentless affairs

Reading Byung-Chul Han’s The Scent of Time, and thinking about this meme that pops up occasionally:

Han writes: “The present is reduced to a point of currentness.” This is this larger issue, for me, of the feeding of historical consciousness among late millennials and zoomers (and presumably whoever comes next). I mean, I know this tweet is a little hyperbolic, but in order to think this, there’s so much else, historically, culturally and art-historically, you have to totally be oblivious to. It’s kind of breathtaking. But I also get that it’s a spitting in the face of all generations, and saying basically: your stupid history is worthless. Who cares! 

I can see how imperialism comes to fill the vacuum of time. How “war is a force that gives life meaning.” What you are seeing with the Q conspiracy in the US is nothing but the pathological need for communities of belief so strong that passionate belief will fix onto anything. There’s no necessity of rationality to belief, although rational belief has utility. But where rational belief is beyond comprehension (as with scientific knowledge for most), it’s no more rational to the irrational mind than magic.

When Han (in the first essay in the book, “Non-time”) talks about the directionlessness of time, it makes me think of the cultural prevalence of apocalyptic fantasy, about how this teleology applies to the current culture and invariably gives way to a band of survivors who are back in time, after the end of the terrible endless/timeless cycle of capitalism we are trapped in, like a spell, or an ancient curse…

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