Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Space and Time

The sense of space, and in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, &c. were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to conceive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night; nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human experience ...

Pinhole photograph, JB

The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later years, were often revived. Of this, at least, I feel assured, that there is no such thing as forgetting possible to the mind. A thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions of the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever; just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are but waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.

Pinhole photographs - superimposed, JB

In the early stage of my malady the splendours of my dreams were indeed chiefly architectural; and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was never yet beheld by the waking eye, unless in the clouds. To architecture succeeded dreams of lakes and silvery expanses of water. The waters then changed their character--from translucent lakes shining like mirrors they now became seas and oceans.

Marlborough Sounds, JB

Text: Thomas de Quincey (1821) Confessions of an English Opium-Eater