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Yet, it is the case that contemporary culture is oriented chiefly toward the present. The architecture of digital platforms encourages a preoccupation with instantaneity, and they simultaneously sanction forgetting under the guise of pervasive documentation. This is not unlike the homeostatis that Ong identified as one of the psychodynamics of oral societies: “oral societies live very much in a present which keeps itself in equilibrium or homeostatis by sloughing off memories which no longer have present relevance.” It is only that our present is ever more condensed by the patterns of digital media. It is not this year or this month, but rather this day or even this hour. This is one reason why we have a difficult time relating to the past as an organic reality whose presence makes itself felt in the present. Time has no integrity, and the past is accessible only under the aspect of nostalgia.

Added 2 years ago by Toby Shorin
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