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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kairos: The Decisive Moment for Katniss

Kairos - Volunteering: the Moment of Choice for Katniss

One must take into account the particular circumstances, and also what the Greeks called the kairos, or "the critical moment." The concept of the kairos  - the decisive or crucial moment or opportunity - has always had a significant role in Greek thought for epistemological, moral, and technical reasons. What is of interest here is that since Philodemus is now associating parrhesia with piloting and medicine, it is also being regarded as a technique which deals with individual cases, specific situations, and the choice of the kairos or decisive moment.
(Fearless Speech - Michel Foucault p. 111)

Kenzaburo Oe: Every time you stand at a crossroads of life and death, you have two universes in front of you...(A Personal Matter)

At all events, this duality governs us. Each individual life unfolds on two levels, in two dimensions - history and destiny - which coincide only exceptionally. Each life has its history, the history of its successive events, its twists and turns - but elsewhere, in another dimension, there is only one form, that of the absolute becoming of the same situation, which occurs for everyone in the form of the Eternal Return. The form of destiny, which Nietzsche also calls 'character', to distinguish it from any psychology of the ego and its successive changes. (p.79 Impossible Exchange - Baudrillard)

Here's Rand from Fountainhead: 

....Howard, when you look back, does it seem to you as if all your days had rolled forward evenly, like a sort of typing exercise, all alike? Or were their stops - points reached - and then the typing rolled on again?

"There were stops." 

"Did you know them at the time - did you know that that's what they were?" 


"I didn't. I knew afterward....."(F 25th ed p. 542-3)
This is the first conversation between Howard and Gail. In Foucault's language a stop can be seen as a CUT, although he saves the term for a more elaborate genealogy rather than a personal instance in a life. IMO it is the micro, so I will use it.

The typing rolling on is linear time. The cut or stop is the Event, when time stops, a discontinuous "cut". This is the position of post modernism. Time is no longer linear, progressive, historical. Time is discontinuous, filled with Events that come from elsewhere (seen again in the Cortland dynamiting), unpredictable, without causes, and having consequences spiraling out into the world that astonish.

Why I keep asserting that Rand is the fictional herald of post modern philosophy. Or the canary in the coalmine depending on your preference.

What if this CUT or Event can be considered as the exceptional coinciding of the individual's historical life and Destiny, as kairos?

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