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culture social justice

Everything Is About Time

I feel like everywhere I turn people are talking about time. Here are a few recent references

AmarElo

This documentary was so gorgeous. It opened with the saying,

“Eshu threw a stone today that hit a bird yesterday.”

Emma Dabiri – Don’t Touch My Hair

The weaving that occurs in the braided hairstyles, the aspects of their temporality, their consistency as well as their adaptibility, share many similarities with the oriki (Yoruba oral tradition) genre. What is this something else that oriki performances aim at? Simply posing this question highlights a profound difference between a Eurocentric concept of history and Afrocentric engagements with time.

In our language the word for the sea means the ‘spirit that returns’

I found my way to the land closest to nowhere after Google Maps said there was no road to follow. My eyes told me different and I kept going. To get there that first night, especially alone after dark, I was far more reliant on strangers’ knowledges of well travelled roads than any formal map or its timings. Nowhere is an invention. Real or not, it enables navigation, not on land but at sea:

Latitude 0°
Longitude 0°
Altitude 0°

Nowhere is the centre of the surface of the world. It is on the longitude line that links Britain and Ghana. Nowhere sets its clocks to Greenwich Mean Time. This nowhere is the nowhere because the British were best at sea. The land closest to nowhere is a cape jutting out into the Atlantic, not to one point, but three: nowhere is never somewhere you get to one way.

Towards a Temporal Rezoning

At Home With Ursula LeGuin

In “A Non-Euclidean View,” Le Guin cited a writer and folklorist who described a saying among some members of the Cree people:

Usà puyew usu wapiw! (“He goes backward, looks forward.”)

The phrase is used to describe “the thinking of a porcupine as he backs into a rock crevice.” The author in question, Howard A. Norman, wrote that “the porcupine consciously goes backward in order to speculate safely on the future, allowing him to look out at his enemy or the new day. To the Cree, it’s an instructive act of self-preservation.”

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