Time and Place

“If the place is different, the time is different. If the place is the same, time has not changed.”

This pithy two part aphorism by Julian Barbour, actually extracted by me from his book, seems at first surprisingly Heraclitan for the scientist who denies motion and change—along the lines of never stepping into the same river twice etc. It also matches nicely with the position taken by this blog. Each place is a time; each moment belongs to one place. This position is completely opposed to the modern tendency to eradicate differences and make every place interchangeable and time a continuous sameness—called the market for short. Yet Barbour can reconcile the uniqueness and particularity of every time/space with his Platonic conception. Time is spatialized. Smithson saw the same thing in Minimalism, specifically that one moment could last for an eternity, but this also is the market. “If the place is the same, the time has not changed,” is in fact a political and economic truth.


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