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Life Arts    H4'ed 10/6/13

The Nostalgic Future is Now!

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   1 comment, In Series: Cognition Column
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Monsanto - Evil Empire? by Self

"All time is in the present. The moment in which I speak is in the past, and the future does not exist, except in our imagination."

   I'd first heard that phrase used by Barry Lategan twenty years ago. He attributed the quote to Roland Barthes, French writer and Philosopher but I've never been able to substantiate that. Meanwhile, the realization that; "All time is in the present", only dawned on me during a recent two week trip to Amsterdam.

   It was my last night and I was worried that Todd Rundgren's performance at the Paradiso Club would sell out, or that some unforeseen chaos would make me late, even though being late for a '70's pop idol had me somewhat confused as to the timing because the last time I'd been to the Paradiso club had been more than forty years ago and four decades is a big byte.

   During the previous two weeks I'd taken part in an anti-Monsanto demonstration on Dam square, studied The Nights Watch at the newly revamped Rijksmuseum, eaten apple strudel at the Van Gogh museum and waited patiently in the queue at the Anne Frank House pondering man's inhumanity to man. Besides drinking with Vikings at Cafe Brandon on the Prinsengracht and sightseeing, I'd wandered the streets looking at the people while trying to observe the workings of the mind during coffee shop conversations meant to be forgotten.

   The two friends I'd started off with had departed, leaving me for the last five days on my own. That fitted well with my understanding of things, that either you have the time or the money, rarely both. I was living proof, poorest of the trio and so the bonus of extra time was mine to spend however I liked. I'm happy to report that I spent it trying to reconnect with myself in the Amsterdam of my past.

   Back in 1972 I was an escapee from the confines of the Apartheid regime. One night I got kidnapped by Surinamese road pirates in a yellow BMW 320i filled with guns and dragged to club after club in search of something only pirates knew. I smoked Afghan Black out of a clay pipe with them while we cruised PlayGround, Melkweg, Paradiso, Lucky Strike. In a background window, satanic teenagers in black grunge jived and core-dumped at each other. Later I escaped to Vondel park where topless hippie chicks were playing guitars in the middle of the hot summer night.

   We could argue that optimism is useless when confronted with reality but trying to envisage Jimmy Morrison singing 'The End' to hippies in Vondel Park while strolling through 21st Century Amsterdam nearly got me run over by kamikaze bicycles. Some kind of jump had been made. I'd been left behind, an observer, a time traveller in a Universe that has recently been altered by new understandings. It's been said that traveller is the journey, but there was no time to ponder that while in transit from 1972. Stepping out of my space-time portal into 21st Century Amsterdam maybe I could be excused for wondering why there were no buildings two miles high, flying cars or solar powered trains. Shucks. Some locals even greeted me with suspicion when I asked them where the nearest coffee shop was, as if I'd asked for directions to a spaceport for a flight to Mars. I was a time traveller arriving in an Amsterdam of the future that no-one back in '72 could've predicted, a future where drone strikes are normal, genetically altered crops rule and manned space exploration had been on hold for 40 years. Hell, there isn't even a Tesla energy grid to show for it! Predictably, the rich have got richer and the poor have got more desperate. It's like everyone is part of a medieval world fair where the Royalty of the future are movie stars and multinational company directors who entertain the goodwill of the proletariat with smoke and mirrors.

   "It doesn't matter", I tell myself. Our global communications network is the motherboard of human intent and soon it will manifest itself in many positive ways. Eco-cities powered by Zero-point energy and the like, but I digress. Back in '72, 'recycling' wasn't a priority and an infrastructure mimicking a global brain, or neural networking system, was still unthinkable.

The space-time portal is opening again. Nostalgia and back?

Mike (Schwann) Kawitzky

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1950. I was born in a post-war Apartheid South Africa and survived being indoctrinated by state, culture and corporate influences to emerge, years later, as a social commentator, columnist, author, (a gonzo autobiography titled: "Journey to (more...)
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