Progress is not an inference drawn from chronology alone. We can move through chronology, pass through the years from one to another without inferring anything like progress has happened. Do you think history is progressive, whatever history is? Do you believe in progress happening correlative to chronology passing? What is this thing time? Do we move in it, through it, as it passes us by? How is time, history? Is history like time at all? History is then a tunnel, or is history like an arrow shot?
History is like an ocean, I remember saying to her at the ocean. History has tides and surges and waves and storms. History has its tsunamis. History has natural force; history is a natural force. What is history? is a question we ask, although I don’t know why we do? When is history, is another question? This question might be more appropriate than the former.
The appropriateness of questions sometimes concerns me–there are always considerations of this kind for anything we are going to say in company. History is history is history whether it is written r not, told or not, right? No? What do you think? What do you say? What are you going too say, to tell. All of it the tale told by an idiot? I have more optimism than MacBeth. I would have to, wouldn’t I?
I could extend questions, string them one after the other, on and on and on until the last interrogative of recorded time. All the questions I ask followed by yet another string of other questions followed by yet still other questions–nearly perpetually, going on and keeping on . . . what is it that I am saying about the nature of questioning; taking the time to perform and act of social inquiry, of personal inquiry, of any kind of inquiry into any subject . . . what?
Each could be extended, linked one to another and another every essay essaying what to essay–oral or literary–other forms of speaking or writing perpetuating itself into itself multiplied, replicated, de-formed, re-formed, all to continue informing, to put in form by information. To essay or not to essay, what do I essay when I do in an essay this thing about putting ideas on trial . . . I don’t now if I hate writing that is a parade of images for the sake of images, but I do know I know what Williams meant when he said it to Kazan . . .
If only to put what I think in a form suited, I would be happy. To accomplish this task of putting pen to page and saying something intelligent about something that begs to be discussed, again, to be essayed–I am fixed here on this trying out what I think, thinking not randomly passing images in the mind or playing hop-scotch with the names of ideas, the way most people do with the data of history rather than the matter of history. Yes, put on trial by the ordeal of ideas, I am as well as what I think–what then must the judgement be on the writing.
End of Part Four; to be continued.