Time is of the Essence

One could argue that time, as the theme of a publication with texts from all around the world, would somehow establish a common denominator; one that could make the diversity of our selected works more harmonious.

Yet one could also argue the exact opposite. Time — even as understood by physics — is everything but homogeneous. More than twenty years before Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa first published his poem “Adiamento”, a poem about the relativity of time (translated in this issue), Einstein had already published the theories with which he changed the course of the 20th century. The idea that two observers can have different perceptions of time also belonged to the world of science and objectivity, and the notion of time as one Big Ben running on a sole Greenwich Meridian became nothing but one side of the coin.

It doesn’t seem accidental that poetry would also want to reflect (with irony, humor, fear or anguish) the openendendess of relativity. What are the implications of stating that two contradicting statements are both, subjectively and objectively, true? It is not accidental, either, that humanity increasingly regards time as one of its most valuable assets. “Time is gold” is one of the main premises which our lives seem to be built upon. Yet despite this inherent value of time, human nature is also drawn to its denial. Poets like Pessoa seemed to ask themselves about this other side of the coin: the absolute devaluation of time, in his case, manifested in one of Man’s favorite contemporary neuroses: procrastination.


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