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Remembrance of Things Past
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In logic, it is rigid.
In physics, there is slippage. Chance has a part to play. Accidents can happen. Uncertainty is a principle. The world is more complex than any model. You can say the equations of physics make no distinction between past and future, between forward and backward in time. But if you do, you are averting your gaze from the phenomena dearest to our hearts. You leave for another day or another department the puzzles of evolution, memory, consciousness, life itself.
Elementary processes may be reversible; complex processes are not. We create memories or our memories create themselves. Consulting a memory converts it into a memory of a memory.
The memories of memories, the thoughts of thoughts, blend into one another until we cannot tease them apart. Memory is recursive and self-referential. Time is a feature of creation, and the creator remains apart from it, transcendent over it. Does that mean that all our mortal time and history is, for God, a mere instant — complete and entire? For God outside of time, God in eternity, time does not pass ; events do not occur step by step; cause and effect are meaningless. He is not one-thing-after-another, but all-at-once.
Creation is a tapestry, or an Einsteinian block universe. Either way, one might believe that God sees it entire. For Him, the story does not have a beginning, middle, and end. But if you believe in an interventionist god, what does that leave for him to do? A changeless being is hard for us mortals to imagine.
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Does he act? Does he even think? Without sequential time, thought — a process — is hard to imagine. Consciousness requires time, it seems. It requires being in time. When we think, we seem to think consecutively, one thought leading to another, in timely fashion, forming memories all the while. A god outside of time would not have memories. But whatever pitfalls, paradoxes, and perplexities might bedevil our individual memory, they are rendered into even sharper relief in our collective memory — nowhere more so than in the curious human obsession with time capsules, the grandest of which is the Golden Record that sailed into space aboard the Voyager in , a civilizational labor of love dreamt up and rendered real by Carl Sagan and Annie Druyan that was also the record of their own love story.
When people make time capsules, they disregard a vital fact of human history. Over the millennia — slowly at first and then with gathering speed — we have evolved a collective methodology for saving information about our lives and times and transmitting that information into the future. We call it, for short, culture. First came songs, clay pots, drawings on cave walls. Then tablets and scrolls, paintings and books. Knots in alpaca threads, recording Incan calendar data and tax receipts.
Sicherman tells the story by a mixture of well-written journal entries and letters to her son alongside seemingly random lists and other methods of storytelling. She readily acknowledges the help she has received in fixing her life and writing about it. Allward also wanted the two pylons to evoke the interior of a perhaps broken but still standing church building of the sort so familiar to First World War soldiers in Europe, which were so resonant for them of meaning about loss.http://vault.nexuspoint.co.uk/74.php
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Canada Bereft. Centre-stage, her head draped, Canada personified as a woman, but depicted half naked to infer both her female and allegorical roles, looks down at the empty tomb below her. In her right hand she carries a bunch of laurel leaves, the symbol of victory and traditionally useful for warding off pestilence. Simultaneously, this Watts-like female figure makes a clear reference to traditional Christian images of the Mater Dolorosa Our Lady of Sorrows. Like the many post-war daughters, mothers, sisters, and widows, however, she has been left to mourn alone.
The figure spread-eagled on the altar below the two pylons refers to the intended Sacrifice of Isaac at the hands of Abraham. Certainly, the fact that the figure stands on a fallen sword, the weapon a symbol of sacrifice in this context, reinforces the message that death is averted. In some respects, the position of the body, in particular the delicate contrapposto of its lower half echoes that of the Apollo Belvedere and other such sculptural precedents familiar to Allward, most likely through illustration.
The Defenders: Breaking of the Sword. The Defenders: Sympathy of the Canadians for the Helpless.
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The other three figures convey the balance of the group narrative about the strong protecting and assisting the weak. The Mourners. Visitors first enter the monument at its rear. Here they see the reclining figures of the two mourners patterned on statues by Michelangelo in the Medici Tomb in Florence ? The female figure, seemingly exhausted, reads a Roll of Honour further underlining the idea that the cost of victory is hard to bear.
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It was here that a number of Canadian units deposited their colours or flags over the course of the First World War. Allward had previously used the figure of Adam in his Bell Monument in Brantford ? Only by turning their back to this view can they see the symbolic figures that collectively suggest a hopeful future, as we shall see. The eight figures at the top of the pylons represent the universal virtues of charity, faith, honour, hope, justice, knowledge, peace, and truth.
Truth and Knowledge are provided with the wings of angels, an attribute usually granted the figure of Victory, who is notably absent from the monument.
Related Origins (Prescient Remembrance Book 1)
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