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Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts | |


Jørgen Veisland (Bio)

Spacetime in Søren Kierkegaard's Repetition

In The Order of Time (2018) physicist Carlo Rovelli states that when we observe the microscopic state of things the difference between past and future disappears. Quantum mechanics has concluded that time consists of dots, grains, i.e. quants, meaning that time dissolves into spatial quantities that are discontinuous. Further, it is not possible to predict where an electron will appear tomorrow. A state of indeterminacy prevails in the cosmos, single entities are dispersed in a cloud of probability only. And finally, everything is interrelated. Electrons are concrete only in relation to the other physical objects they are interacting with.

These discoveries have profound implications for our examination of Kierkegaard’s Repetition (1843). The grains, or dots, constitute exactly the points that make up Constantin Constantius’ Øieblik, the moment or instant that emerges in a wink of the eye. We are dealing with a reversal of time into space. This occurs at unpredictable, indetermined intervals when objects, or subjects, interrelate with one another.

A doubling or mirroring is taking place here. We may trace this mirroring in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) where Gatsby claims that you can repeat the past; in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled (1995) where the protagonist Ryder finds himself in a hotel room in a Central European city that is a duplicate of his bedroom in England; and in Laus Strandby Nielsen’s book of poetry Halvvejs gennem uendeligheden (2021) where a poem records how time is tying knots in spring.

Professor Veisland will among other things discuss Chinese director Wang's Online Theater Manifesto. It is available for free on this link.