By Paul Corcoran (auth.)
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In much that we do, as in primeval times, the calendar determines our intentions, limits our actions, forms our identities, guides our lives, constrains our freedom. 46 Awaiting Apocalypse It is no wonder that we have parties – birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s eve – to celebrate our endurance, our survival, our conquest of time. And it is no wonder that on such occasions we revert to ‘infantile’ behaviour to celebrate our good fortune to survive. ’ Toward the end of her study of abjection, Kristeva returns to the theme of horror.
Calendars have been Time Machines, whose actual movements reproduce planetary motion. Calendars have also been a sacred Book of Time. The image of time as an accounting ledger or a sequential, ‘irreversible’ record of births, deaths, property and so forth is evoked in William the Conqueror’s eleventh-century Domesday Book, a census which captured ‘temporal’ life. The Christian Book of Hours and Missal are pietistic guides for liturgical celebration of the cyclical, recurrent hours, days and weeks of the Christian calendar.
Annihilation is sometimes good for us. Our appreciation must rise to a loftier plane of human understanding; great (and bloody) events are carried out (and compulsively observed) by those who have the ‘stomach’ for it. Fatal Attractions 23 The experience of disaster and its immediate aftermath is accounted for in something like a Nietzschean frame of reference as a moral recreation that exists ‘beyond good and evil,’ beyond the standards of humdrum self-interest, individual desert or utilitarian calculation.