Ferro e rádio em White (1949)

The temporal process is non-repetitive. In the sequence or process that is temporal (and temporal only), each event is unique; it occurs only once. The Rocky Mountains are formed only once, there is only one Wiirm glaciation, each raindrop is unique, each movement of every living creature is distinguished [12] from every other movement, [Nota de rodapé *: It may be. Actually they usually are not, for the reason that such distinctions except in rare instances—such as the real or imagined kick of Mrs. O’Lean’s cow that started the great Chicago fire, or the honking of the geese who “saved Rome”—have no significance for us as ordinary human beings. But for a philosophy of science the sneeze of an anonymous monkey in the depths of a jungle is as significant as illustrating the uniqueness of each event in a temporal series as is the birth of Christ or the death of Caesar.] John Brown is executed only once, each meeting of the women’s sewing circle is a unique event. The spatial, or functional, process, being non-temporal, is repetitive; mountain systems may be formed repeatedly, ice-age may follow ice-age, raindrops fall again and again, water freezes, ice thaws and water freezes again, metal may be melted and remelted, monkeys sneeze, men die, insurrectionists are executed, prices rise and fall and rise again, societies and clubs are organized in every age. The evolutionary process, being in part temporal in character, is also non-repetitive; [Nota de rodapé **: Actually, this may depend upon one’s point of view, or more accurately, upon the temporal scope of one’s vision. To us, the cosmic process seems to be evolutionary in character: the universe is expanding (it may be assumed), or matter is being transmuted into energy. The process seems to be temporal-formal in character: non-repetitive and irreversible. But this appearance may be an illusion due to the temporal limits of our observation. Were the period longer, sufficiently longer, the cosmic process might reveal itself as a repetitive one: an era of contraction might follow expansion, and so on, in an endless series of pulsations; matter may be transmuted into energy and re-congealed into matter, an endless vibration of a cosmic pendulum. So, to a creature that, compared with us, had an infinitesimally brief span of observation, the repetitive and rhythmic character of respiration or the heart beat or the rusting of iron would appear to be evolutionary in character, for seeing only a minute part of the process, neither the beginning nor the end, he would observe only a temporal alteration of form, and might declare it to be a non-repetitive process. And he would be correct too, for the process which he observes is non-repetitive just as the dying star and the decomposing radium represent non-repetitive processes to us. Thus, whether a process be labelled repetitive or evolutionary depends upon the unit of measurement. Any repetitive process is made up of a sequence of events which in themselves are non-repetitive. Conversely, any repetitive process is but a segment of a larger one which is evolutionary in character.] a reptile becomes a mammal only once; radium decomposes only once; stars “die” only once. [Nota de rodapé ***: One must not confuse duplication with repetition: there may be transitions from reptile to mammal in many different phyla. These are duplications, not repetitions] Growth is also a [13] temporal-spatial process; the term, however, is usually applied to individuals rather than to classes. Growth is a non-repetitive process: one is a child only once—second childhood is always a novelty. (White 1949:11-13)

WHITE, Leslie. 1949. The science of culture: a study of man and civilization. New York: Grove Press.