Why destroy_time/”Destructive Anachronism”?

I get asked this often, typically in some iteration of “what the fuck does your tag mean?” I answer this periodically, typically once a year or so, and as I’m in the mood, this’ll be the 2014 version of that answer. From their own website, “The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.” “Destructive Anachronism” is a play on that, albeit with nothing whatsoever to do re: pre-17th century Europe. To me, it evokes the notion of destroying the past in order to create something entirely and uniquely new. “Destroying time” is an idea related to the concept of the unexplored, uncharted and unfamiliar, whether good or bad.

On a simplistic level, it also relates to my abiding love of history — my degree is in history, and for a long while I seriously considered applying to doctoral programs in the discipline. There are times still when I wish I had, though that wasn’t the road for me.

On another, more significant level, to me it also means the metaphorical destruction of a troubled past in order to live anew, even if that destruction is an ongoing and necessarily repeated process. I am an historicist, and share with Heidegger the viewpoint that existence is “sedimented,” that our past is ineluctably inescapable, molds us and guides us; that said, I also believe that in order to move forward from situations that become untenable, a certain amount of leave-taking is required. In other words, time must be destroyed. Hence, why this site is and has been — for the better part of, dear lord, nine years now in one version or another (I used to be hosted on BlogSpot before moving here and putting things in my own name) — entitled “Destructive Anachronism” and why my Twitter handle (follow please, but at your peril) is @destroy_time.

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~ by Benji on 12 August 2014.

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