Diamond time, daimon time.

In the instant of diamond time duration incarnates and shatters itself. Many types of duration must exist, this seems to be true almost ‘by definition’. Duration is, after all, a multiplicity. Yet the time that fascinates, that holds attention and throws itself upon us, captures and eludes us, is predominantly the moments of diamond time, daimon time. We uncover these moments not through attention – our attention is always held by this time, this daimon diamond time – but through thought. We are forced to think, in the most perfect example of the forcing of thought, by this encounter with diamond time.

The eternal return is perhaps the most celebrated thought of the diamond time. The difficulty is often in extracting any sense of the eternal return from the peculiar and slight traces it left, not least in the peculiar way in which the eternal return is brought back to the moment, to the instant logical game of that which is both there and not there, here and not here. There is no instant of the eternal return since it shatters the moment and explodes the instant, taking us directly into the daimon of time, diamond time.

Time is not a passing, a going or an arriving. Time comes. When it has come it never goes. Almost no human being exists who has not yet had time come to them but there will be some, just as there will some plants, some rocks, some stars for whom time has not yet come – although it will. Aion sits softly on the lap of all and none may avoid the diamond time, no matter may avoid the daimon of time. Aion holds all in time and captures all, in time.

The encounter, however, is that which thought struggles to arrive at. To encounter time is to become shattered by it, at least at its most potent, in its daimon diamond form. We live as time, of course, we project the horizon of temporality up to and into the moment of the possibility of our impossibility but this living of time, this ecstatic temporality, always lacks that which it dismisses as impossible presence. The transcendental condition of ecstatic temporality is diamond time.

No doubt it is difficult to extract thought from its almost inevitable subsumption of diamond time into the subject. Kierkegaard perhaps offers the most abject lesson in this loss. The eternal, encountered as truth, God, Christ and the choice loses Aion in the incarnation of the daimon. We seem to be told that it must be the idea, that which is conjured into existence ex nihilo from the pure power of the subject and yet in this case the instant absorbs time rather than embracing it. It sucks up into the present the eternal that simply couldn’t be here in a moment. Diamond time is instead that which none want to encounter, the explosive truth.

Article written by

philosopher and filmmaker from brighton, currently teaching philosophy at the Free University of Brighton

4 Responses

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  1. kvond
    kvond at |

    I love the conflation of diamond and daimon. I have poured over the word “daimon” so many times and have never come across this in my mind. Thank you. I had a very tentative theory that Spinoza had gained his unique lens-polishing techniques from the diamond cutters and polishers of the Amsterdam ghetto in which he was raised, techniques he brought to the making of telescopes and microscopes. It gave me to realize that his work of the Ethics might be seen as one great polishing device, meant to sharpen the soul to clarity. Your diamond/daimon metaphor simply add to the thought-image.

  2. Matt Astill
    Matt Astill at |

    No idea what ‘diamond time’ is, but I like the Spinoza comment, though I want more –
    Why does a soul need sharpening? Is this a question of need, a universal need perhaps, or does the idea of a ‘need’ assume too much (if not a ‘human need’ then the positing of a methodology, for an ‘ideal’ of clarity)?

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