July 10, 2006

Time and the self

We have dreams moving back and forward in time, though to use the words back and forward is to make a nonsense of the dream, for it implies that time is linear, and if that were so there could be no movement, only a forward progression. But we do not move through time, time moves through us. I say this because our physical bodies have a natural decay span, they are one–use–only units that crumble around us. To everyone, this is a surprise. We see it in parents and our friends and we are always amazed to see it in ourselves. The most prosaic of us betray a belief in the inward life every time we talk about ‘my body’ rather than ‘I’. We feel it as absolutely part not at all part of who we are. Language always betrays us, tells the truth when we want to lie, and dissolves into formlessness when we would most like to be precise.

Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry (London: Vintage Press, 1990) p. 90


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