Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Am Behind Because I Am Ahead

Occasionally we hear people say that an institution is behind or ahead of the times (see last two posts). The word “times” here signals either culture or a functional vector; when this concept (if not the phrase) is applied to children, they’re either retarded or precocious; when to a business it is “behind” when it stops growing or fails to go public and then, in turn, fails to engage in diversification or acquisitions.

This dynamic vector has no terminus. I’m evolving, I’m evolving—and forever more. Progress is always to the better, evolution to the higher. Regression and devolution therefore are negatively flavored words. And arrival’s always mythical: the classless society or the end of times rapture. The imagination just refuses the infinite progress as well. Time must have a stop.

Deep engagement with “the times” is listening to one hand clapping. Reality is better pictured as the cycle of the seasons. Autumn is summer’s devolution and the progress toward winter time. And someone behind the times in Winter, dreaming of warmth and colored flowers, may be ahead of time because Spring is just around the corner.

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