Paradigms are full of shift. Vjeko Sager

In relatively simple, preliterate societies, without any tradition of historiography, a tendency toward an oscillating image of time appears to be prevalent. This means that time is regarded as something with a zig-zag rhythm, swinging back and forth between recurrent events or states of affairs, such as night and day, the seasons, drought and flood, life and death or the succession of generations, certain festivals and ceremonies, and so on. A linear image of time, however, considers time to be unidirectional and irreversible.

Egypt: an oscillating image of time seems to have had a comparable impact. As a consequence, it appears, pictorial art is highly schematized and static. There is no illusion of space or depth and hardly any depictions of particular objects or persons with individualized features.

Greece: Protagoras’ doctrine “Man is the measure of all things” arose during the fifth century B.C.. This strengthened anthropocentrism led to the conviction that human progress is possible, a cultural evolution made possible with the help of technē, i.e., the orderly application of knowledge for the purpose of producing a specific, predetermined product. Despite these anthropocentric tendencies, the group experience and the community’s values were still given priority.

Romans: portrait busts from the Republican era show an even more unmistakable interest in individuality. With regard to the physiognomic features of the represented persons, strikingly realistic. This tradition implies continuity between the individual and family, as well as a linear image of time, though rather orientated towards the past and the present than the future.

Renaissance: perspective on one hand can be interpreted as the “mathematization” and objective ordering of space, while on the other hand it also puts emphasis on the beholder’s individual point of view, his or her personal stance, separated from the world. Thus, linear perspective should be seen as expressive of the creative interdependence between the mind and the world, between the artist/beholder and nature.

Science: As Heidegger noted, science is our definition of the real. We look to scientists, not artists, poets, philosophers, or politicians, for statements about the true nature of things. But ironically, the definition of science that dominates society – what can be called the physics model of science – is itself irreal. It is irreal because science depends on parameterization, breaking off part of the world so that it can be studied in isolation, repeated over and over again in an experiment. Of course, in the real world nothing is really isolated from anything else.

Politics: Rancière is saying that politics is the struggle of an unrecognized party for equal recognition in the established order. Esthetics is bound up in this battle, Rancière argues, because the battle takes place over the image of society — what it is permissible to say or to show.

Future: The current situation, Jean Baudrillard claims, is more fantastic than the most fanciful science fiction, or theoretical projections of a futurist society. Thus, theory can only attempt to grasp the present on the run and try to anticipate the future.

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