chapter  3
22 Pages

Wears and Tears (Tableau of an ageless world)

The time is out of joint. The world is going badly. It is worn but its wear no longer counts. Old age or youth-one no longer counts in that way. The world has more than one age. We lack the measure of the measure. We no longer realize the wear, we no longer take account of it as of a single age in the progress of history. Neither maturation, nor crisis, nor even agony. Something else. What is happening is happening to age itself, it strikes a blow at the teleological order of history. What is coming, in which the untimely appears, is happening to time but it does not happen in time. Contretemps. The time is out of joint. Theatrical speech, Hamlet’s speech before the theater of the world, of history, and of politics. The age is off its hinges. Everything, beginning with time, seems out of kilter, unjust, dis-adjusted. The world is going very badly, it wears as it grows, as the Painter also says at the beginning of Timon of Athens (which is Marx’s play,

is it not). For, this time, it is a painter’s speech, as if he were speaking of a spectacle or before a tableau: “How goes the world?—It wears, sir, as it grows.”1