Temporality may be understood as a box of speeds or gears; each human society possesses such a multi-geared orientation to present, future and past. Just as each civilisation has its own nomos or orientation to space, so it can be said to articulate its own chronos, or perspective on time. As detailed in Chapter 1, the primary orientation of ancient societies was to the past, in which, it was believed, lay the Golden Age or time of perfection. The present was considered a fallen, deficient age, and the future could only be regarded with hope if — according to the doctrine of the cycle of time — it cycled back to the glorious past. Contemporary Western society observes a chronos diametrically opposed to that of the ancient world. The principal orientation is to the present and the near-future, where consumption is achieved, information is communicated, the new mobile phone, computer or tablet supersedes the old and digital progress is made. The past is largely dismissed, often contemptuously, as irrelevant.
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- The Big Now and the Faraway Then: Present, Past and Future in Contemporary Culture
- Palgrave Macmillan UK