OF TIME, PASSION, AND KNOWLEDGE by J.T. Fraser

OF TIME, PASSION, AND KNOWLEDGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A prodigious scholarly feat: Professor Fraser investigating the ""infinite variety of forms in which the universal thesis of time as a hierarchy of creative conflicts may be found"" -- and naturally he finds them everywhere. For this book is really not a book at all but a universe of thought, its subject matter engendering unending speculation in secula seculorum. Or so it would seem to the average reader. Philosophy, psychology, religion, archaeology, mythology, the arts and sciences, medicine -- these are the disciplines with which the author works. So unless one is a specialist in each field it is hardly the easiest thing in the world to follow Professor Fraser's argument. In fact, as someone recently remarked while questioning John Mitchell, it's ""like trying to nail a drop of water to a wall."" But though the detail is dense, the style of discourse knotty or pedantic, Fraser's enthusiasm is genuine: Time indeed is his siren's song. Time as ""knowledge felt and knowledge understood,"" Time as ""the strategy of existence,"" Time as an idea of history from our Aegean beginnings to the present day. ""The conflict of life,"" says Fraser, is ""resolved upon death by the return of the body to the inorganic, that is, by collapse,"" and then ""resolved by containment through the evolutionary emergence of the mind."" This sort of thinking finds echoes especially in Hegel, Huxley, and Toynbee, is both conservative and evolutionary, and favors ""the resolution of certain conflicts. . .through the creation of new integrative levels which themselves display certain unresolvable conflicts. . . ."" Therefore it is ""only increasing existential tension"" which ""can guarantee a self-maintaining and open-ended process."" But isn't that the underlying Faustian principle which has been guiding the Western world? And look where we are now!

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1974
ISBN: 0691024375
Publisher: Braziller