Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture

By Mikhail Epstein; Alexander Genis et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 14
THE PARADOX OF ACCELERATION

Mikhail Epstein

"What's new?" This impatient and superficial question harbors the potential for a profound answer, which is normally ignored by us. "What is new inside me" or "in the world" are concise formulaic expressions for the things about which one ought to be thinking and about which it is worthwhile to talk. This does not mean discussing the news. Many things can constitute "news," but newness itself is always unique. It is the focus of constant mental vigilance, for it contains the condensed image of times past and an abridged message of future times. Newness is an ever growing degree of completion, acquired by things. It is a maturing of time, which is followed by a harvest. And since the time of the End is not determinable, newness is its nearest approximation, addressing itself to us and demanding permanent attention and spiritual concentration.

There is nothing more mysterious than newness. How clear and simple is the world of Platonic ideas, the eternal eidoi! The great revolution, which was accomplished at the beginning of the Christian era, made the world more mysterious than it had been, endowing every moment between "before" and "after" with essential and unique meaning. We find ourselves in a kind of adventure-novel plot, in which the tension of mystery and breathtaking uncertainty

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