Saturday, 9 December 2006


The mistake is to think that age accumulates; the way, for instance, we will talk of a hundred-year-old as ‘a great age’. In fact a five year old is not only as full of age as a centenarian, she’s often more so. Now I don’t mean to imply, saying this, that 'age' is synonymous with 'life'. Of course it’s trivially obvious that a five year old has more life than a 100-year-old. (This is almost, indeed, as if we’re saying life is something that cannot be accumulated; but again, of course that's right.) Nor can it be said that ‘age’ is synonymous with ‘wisdom’; nor is it purely numerical. Rather it is constitutive, and a child consists of more than an adult. Or put it another way: life, like narrative, is a focalised thing; except that it focalises at every moment with equal force. And focalisation cannot be accumulated.

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