Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dividing Our Time

I came across this quote by Albert Einstein,

Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.

I find it represents well the tension I often carry with what sort of time I will give to various pursuits. I already took some comfort in the limited time I spend reading 'current events' with the statement made by M. Swann in Proust's Swann's Way in response to value of reading 'the papers'.

The fault I find with our journalism is that it forces us to take an interest in some fresh triviality or other every day, whereas only three or four books in a lifetime give us anything that is of real importance. Suppose that, every morning, when we tore the wrapper off our paper with fevered hands, a transmutation were to take place, and we were to find inside it - oh! I don't know; shall we say Pascal's Pensees? . . . And then in the gilt and tooled volumes which we open once in ten years . . . we should read that the Queen of Hellenes had arrived at Cannes, or that the Princesse de Leon had given a fancy dress ball. In that way we should arrive at the right proportion between 'information' and 'publicity'.

Here Proust also refers to a 'division', or as he calls it a right proportion. I still hold to the position that I will be better equipped for political significance if I am formed by transformational texts (and contexts) and I am sensitive and alert to my immediate environment. And then I may well be able to understand what Stephen Harper is proposing for Canada.

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