Eisenstein 5 (the time of ‘epoch’)

[René] Guilleré‘s article gains added interest through its description, not only of the correspondence between musical and graphic arts, but also through its presentation of the idea that these arts, fused together [as they are in film], correspond to the very image of an epoch and the image of the reasoning process of those who are linked to the epoch. (Eisenstein, Film Sense)1

In reading this passage from Eisenstein, it is essential to consider the time of an epoch. Is this a bracketed period in chronological (diachronic) time? Or is an epoch the time of one sort of reasoning process which is always (synchronically) available to every human being? And which is bracketed exactly because other reasoning processes are equally available?

The former implies what is all too often silently assumed — that everyone in a chronological epoch shares an identifiable “reasoning process”. But this seems absurd! Do you or I ever exercise the same “reasoning process” as we each did, individually, five minutes ago? Let alone as everybody else did ‘at the time’?

If “reasoning process” is essentially plural — “reasoning processes” — the implication is that human beings ex-ist not only within bracketed epochs, but also between them. Inside and outside the brackets. Between the brackets in at least three fundamentally different senses.2 But in order for this to be the case, it must be that reality itself supports such education, such induction, such metaphor, such communication — between “reasoning processes”.


  1. Film Sense, 99-100. For René Guilleré‘s article, see Eisenstein 4 (1951).
  2. Three senses of between the brackets: (1) inside the brackets defining any one process at any one time; (2) outside and between the brackets of two processes (which must be traversed when an individual changes from one of them to the other, through education, say, or just a change of mood); (3) between persons in their communication where each exemplifies some reasoning process within its defining brackets and communication ‘takes place’ between these. Understanding one other requires such a transitive movement between their respective brackets.