We seldom think of the cosmological period when there was no space, no time, no matter, and yet we can imagine this precursor of Einsteinian relativity. At the time of the coupling of light and matter, the universe became transparent to light. For its first 900,000 years the universe as we know it was opaque and shadowless.
Unless we take into account the potential of parallel universes, which quantum theory is almost forcing us to consider, there was a time when there was no space, no light, no time, no matter. Only sixty years ago, when Einstein was living on Mercer Street in Princeton, it seemed that the Theory of Relativity had opened a new era. Science, art, architecture, philosophy and religion could all be reconsidered in a radically new way. The elimination of Newtonian time and space, static thinking which now must be revised to constant change and its dynamics, would break open the compartments of provincial philosophies. The positive consequences of Einstein’s discoveries have somehow now faded into the margins of a globalized “bottom line”-value system aimed at quantity instead of quality. Money rules our current systems with idealisms bracketed as “out of fashion.”
Rising up in this monetary fog all over the globe, a xenophobic atmosphere has reinstated ancient religions with superstitions and a dangerous configuration of political-religious action. In the arts, we have the Art Fair phenomena across many nations, where art is sold for astronomical prices in three-day rallies and the press applauds the highest “bottom line.” This is the art of our time. This is our life story in history, and it’s bereft of philosophical reflection.
We need a reflective reconsideration of values.
We need a reevaluation of values.
A cynic would laugh at these statements. However, lessons of history allow us to remember that the great Roman constructions, such as the first use of concrete in the Pantheon, remained forgotten for 1000 years. Today we have altered the atmosphere, instigating dramatic changes in climate across the globe, and yet many representatives inside of our political structure adamantly refute these scientific facts. Exxon, the company recently making the largest annual profits ever recorded for a corporation in capitalist history, has spent millions trying to subvert the facts of climate change.
For our future generations, for our present planet, it’s now time to re-instate idealistic thinking and creative efforts in all of the arts. Instead of caring and asking about the “bottom line,” we should renew the questions asked by the great painter Paul Gauguin.
”Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?”