Stephen Ber tman Killing Time * ABSTRACT The ancient Greek god who symbolized time was Chronos, spelled with the letter chi, or “ch.” Greek mythology also tells of another god named Kronos, spelled with a kappa, or “k.” The similarity in the sound of gods’ names paralleled a similarity in their natures: both were primordial deities, and both were all-devouring. Kronos, in par ticular, was said to have castrated his father to gain power and to have swallowed his children to retain it. Due to the electronic speed-up of contemporar y life, Time (Chronos) is increasingly coming to resemble Kronos in its actions and effects. By distancing us from the past, it is emasculating our sense of history. By accelerating our behavior, it is swallowing our ver y humanity. Mythologically, our current plight is also mirrored in the violent career of Oedipus. People speak of “killing time” - when they’re wait- ing for something to happen, when there’s nothing else worth doing till then. They use up useless time by “killing” it. They are the killers; time, the victim. But things have changed of late. Today, we are the victims, and time the killer. Time is using us
Kronoscope – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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