aorist

From Anne Carson’s Plainwater

 

“Consider incompleteness as a verb. Every verb has a tense, it must take place in time. Yet there are ways to elude these laws. The Greek verb system includes a tense called aorist (which means “unbounded” or “timeless”) to capture that aspect of action win which, for example, a man at noon runs directly on top of his won shadow. So in fr. 13(a) Mimnearmos uses an aorist participle to describe how men move in war. Like acrobats in the psychic misdemeanor we call history, warriors qua warriors live hovering above the moment when action will stop.”

 

This “misdemeanor we call history” gets right at my evolving sense of history. And speechlessness is timelessness? Again the dangerous toggle between the numb and the infinite.

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