Monday, September 22, 2014

It's About Time Because April is the Cruelest Month

In his The Insistence of God, John Caputo considers both kairos and chronos, and while stipulating no essential difference in content, goes on to privilege kairos over chronos because the former is open to the event. Yet, the privilege is more illusion than reality, for the opportune moment cannot be programmed, just as events cannot be programmed. The very seasonality of kairos belies predictability, as it always sees the horizon; chronos, the mindless march of time, never sees anything coming, makes no pretension to expect a horizon: it permits the event as if it doesn't exist.

The stages of time make for good planning of harvests and cuisine, but they make bad planning for the event, which cannot be planned. Because April is indeed the cruelest month, it mocks pretensions to rebirth, and misinterprets occurrences as events. The hermeneutic that privileges kairos over chronos risks seeing events in every bud, in every fallen leaf. Kairos is to chronos as sophia is to phronesis .  I don't think Caputo ever saw that coming, nor this analogy: chronos is to phronesis as kairos is to sophia. We must think of the real, as Caputo says, as if we were dead; and we must think of time as if we lived in the season-less regions.

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