26 February 2012

The Zone

Once I was a man, with a soul and a living body and now I am no more than a being...I hear and see, but no longer know anything...I now live in eternity. The branches sway on the trees, other people come and go in the room, but for me time no longer passes.
-- a schizophrenic patient as reported by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in Phenomenology of Perception. The passage is quoted by Geoff Dyer in Zona.

The difference, perhaps, for sane humans in the Zone (which can be described as a place, or state, of heightened awareness to everything) is that, while we feel a sense of oneness with the Zone ('to be in the Zone is to be part of the Zone'), we do not altogether loose our sense of individuality. (The pain of individuality is, perhaps, what makes us sane.)  Even when we think we forget time we are still at experiencing it. Consciousness only exists in time.  Tarkovsky may be cinema's great poet of stillness, as Dyer writes, but his stillness is animated by the energy of the moving image.

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