The history of philosophy is one intimately associated with the culturing of good temperament. When one loses one’s temper (tempus) one could say that one is out of time with oneself and no longer in possession of the thing guaranteed to be most proper – the living presence of one’s present time.
A loss of temper is often confused with anger, yet this is not the case. Anger may be expressed aggressively and demonstrably, one may be inspired and motivated by it, but it may also be carefully internalized, its control being the very evidence of self-control. Such a distinction might hint though that whilst we seem to be angry quite a lot, it is hard for us to say that we ‘lose time’ (tempus) with ourselves as frequently. Such a feeling of being out of time with oneself must after all be the most uncanny of all, yet neither our day-to-day outbursts nor our seething resentments are usually marked by such ill-ease. We are quite at home with our anger. The loss of anger would, so to speak, lead towards contentment; the loss of temper though would head towards a less well-defined and far more problematic area.
An excess of anger may be the most familiar route towards a loss of temper, but the temperate person, state or region consists of a fine balance. Is it possible that an excess of certain elements other than anger could lead to such a loss? Perhaps it is the many supplementary excesses of the psyche, religion, politics or sexuality that make up, and dissolve into, the climatic conditions of our non-temperate zones and manifest in more exploded forms of violence as true losses of temper? Given the many possible cultures and semiotics of these categories, we must also acknowledge that the preservation and propriety of one’s temper is not always and not everywhere so privileged, and such states are in fact also the objects of desire or even veneration.
This edition of Parallax will take into consideration the occurrence of, and the zone beyond, such losses: losing ones temper, losing time, the temperate loss. How may we begin to consider the above excesses when they may no longer be properly ours? Parallax invites contributions that consider modes of navigating this terrain. Philosophical and deconstructive strategies are apparent, but papers channeled through anthropological, sociological and political methodologies are also encouraged, as well as demonstrations of loss of temper from those most used to keeping it. Contributions made by way of essay, anecdote, or image from across the disciplines will be considered.
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