Deep Time Chicago, a think group initiated after the Anthropocene Campus at the HKW (Berlin) recently published my essay about (among other things) the Pañcatantra and Georges Aperghis’ Darwinian opera, Sextuor – L’Origine des espèces in pamphlet form. Check it out here.
There is always a time before, the second / minute / hour / day / week / month / year before, a preceding generation, an older dynasty. Each human occasion is locked within a larger suite where instants fall on the page of our collective and singular imaginations like notes on a score. We acknowledge a darker, deeper time from which we must have emerged—the stuff of myth, divination, philosophy, and theory. Adam Smith drew hunters and shepherds from this amorphous past to produce a theory of capital and society in The Wealth of Nations. Archaeologists unearth artifacts in anthropological digs with parallel intensity, puzzling over the teeth of Neanderthals where isotopes in dental plaque reveal traces of raw aspirin and Penicillium. Or the virtual, scientific models—studies and projections that aim to uncover a point of origin (a bang for instance) after which life began and then diversified. Yet rather than lock this point of geologic departure in time, the world instead recedes into the past of human knowledge, growing exponentially older as scientific tools become more sophisticated.