Friday, May 17, 2013

The Dimension of Stillness

I stumbled on Rob Braynton's work this morning. It's thought-provoking stuff. I was especially moved by his suggestion that "time" is not a dimension but a direction. The relevant dimension, he says, is duration. I like that basic idea because duration is much more like the experience of length, width, and breadth. Though I must say I've always thought those names for three dimensions to be a bit arbitrary, a bit "seen from nowhere".

Shouldn't we start with a central "here" and then construct the dimensions by way of a proximal "there". (Not quite sure how to do that. Haven't thought it through yet.)

Anyway, it of course reminded me of Ezra Pound's "fourth dimension" in Canto 49, i.e., "stillness".

My preference is not to think of "dimensions" at all but modalities.

In the center. As ever. The image.

Then, the stilled image,
and the moving image.

From there we can observe the modalities of perception, five in all.
And the modalities of action, five in all.

Pound proposed to map experience "in periplum", not from some privileged point.

I think stillness and motion provide good starting points. The basis of the "here" and the "now".

Perhaps dimensionality is a coordination of modalities. "Space" is the stillness through which I can move (a place). "Time" is the movement in which I remain still (a moment). The so-called "higher" dimensions are merely the experience of thought and feeling. If there are "possible worlds", we travel to them all the time in imagining what could have been. If there are "interdimensional beings" we communicate with them all the time, in imagination.

I don't like the idea of dimensions we have not yet experienced. As Braynton says (without quite getting the same point out of it that I do), we experience the "back" of objects all the time, we just do it after we've seen the "front" of them. Likewise, if there is a dimension of "probability", we don't need to build a machine to get there. We already have access to it; we're "in it" as much as we are in the dimension of length. I.e., we have length. We have thoughts. Maybe the fifth dimension just is thought.

No comments: