Freeze Frame

Thoughts on a runaway train.

Now might be time for some realignment, someone says, regarding some speculation as to whether the moment at hand is coextensive with the time since the last ice age, or something of another order entirely, and didn’t Kant observe something awhile back about the gravity of the gravitational calculations that led to the radical separation between the human observer and the Nature he observes, and here we are, full circle or full ellipse, inside the fullness that someone might stop and measure, in a time when the fate of man and nature are again joined––since the moment the steam engine made the muscle of man or his mule no longer a natural limit for what he might do, where he might do it, and with what relentlessness, or since the moment that the soil was first irradiated by the bomb, since the explosion of acceleration of speed, people, pathologies, pollutants, possible beginnings and ends and alternative trajectories of being, but where in this blur of runaway objects emitting time does a body jump off to look, and what are the odds of landing in earth soft enough to break the fall?


Inspired by an observation by philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, that “We are being exposed . . . to a catastrophe of meaning . . . Let us remain exposed and let us think about what is happening to us. Let us think that it is we who are arriving, or are leaving.” In After Fukushima: The Equivalence of Catastrophes, trans. Charlotte Mandel (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015).