Re: relating Henri Bergson to Jameson and Harveyâ€¦
Like others in the class, I noted Bergsonian elements in Harvey and Jameson's time & space discussions in our readings...but couldn't quite remember the details of his theory. After some hard-earned recollecting, here are the meager scraps that came to me: Bergson grasps time as duration, non-chronological and non-quantifiable time. This concept of time, as I recall, is two-fold: the past occurs with the present (which the past once was), and the past is preserved in a general past that we recollect. Duration is therefore the splitting of the passing present and the general accumulated past. So, the question arises of what applying Bergson's duration to Jameson and Harvey's depictions of dire times could uncover about postmodernism (I mean, assuming that it's appropriate to apply 1910ish concepts of time to what was apparently happening at the time of the J and H articles.) If, as Jameson suggests, we've lost our past (which I think B would define as memory) and have dissolved it into "a multitudinous photographic simulacra," have we lost the fullness of duration (actually, a question I have is if duration can exist without memory)? If the present is always becoming the past and the past is bound up with the present, what does it mean that, in postmodernity, we only have "pure, unrelated presents in time"? I guess it could mean a bad case of schizophrenia--we've lost meaning, the "movement from signifier to signifier."
But I remember that, according to Bergson, the main traps into which previous time-thinkers fell involved spatializing time and placing space in time (while Harvey sees an annihilation of space by time). This generated the concept of space as a single straight line and the concept of our selves, our consciousnesses, as psychic states that can be cut apart and juxtaposed. Duration, our consciousness, cannot be cut up into quantifiable moments and accurately represented (as in language or film--for example, the shots of a film are cut up, frozen duration shown in sequential order)--it is more than just a succession of nows. So, it seems that any signifiers or images would compromise duration by distancing us from that pure becoming; yes, we've lost the movement from signifier to signifier, but perhaps before that, in our world of signifiers & images, we've already took a major step away from duration. It would seem, from the Jameson, that Bergson's misgivings re: freezing and cutting up seamless duration is an entrenched aspect of postmodern culture since we live in a daily life of "spatial logic," of images.
And, speaking of losing our past, an article about a man without a memory, written by Oliver Sacks (who else): http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/09/24/070924fa_fact_sacks/