March 8, 2021

Cronopios time | Science

Cronopios time | Science

Julio Cortázar did not miss the scientific dissemination texts that appeared in the newspaper Le Monde. As he claimed, he read them with great interest to be simple texts, available to everyone. With the reading of those articles, the Argentine writer recovered the feeling of the fantastic.

In this way, Julio Cortázar was always alert in his attempt to apply certain scientific principles to literature. As an example, the statement by Werner Heisenberg and that comes to establish, in regard to the behavior of particles in its subatomic dimension, it is impossible to know, at the same time, the trajectory and speed of them. It's going to be in the novel Hopscotch where Cortázar shows us the aforementioned uncertainty principle. He does it as if it were one more game of that invisible reality that underlies all his work and that can not escape the perception of our senses.

The literary possibility of the physical laws will guide Cortázar on the path that leads to the other side of things; a terrain of uncertainty that Cortázar puts to walk his inventiveness, opening it to a dimension where things can be and not be at the same time, "where the exact laws of mathematics can not be applied as they were applied at the most low "to say it with his same words. For Cortázar, it is the same process that occurs in fantastic literature when the limits of the same genre are reached and a new territory begins; a space where everything is possible and everything is uncertain.

In fact, the whole Cortezarian work is an attempt to reconcile two opposing worlds, "the one here" with "the one over there". In this way, Cortázar's writing is halfway between both worlds, handling scientific notions that come to be a fantastic literature proposal. The paragraph of Hopscotch It is revealing. Cortázar brings Heinsenberg's reading to everyday events:

Julio Cortázar, seen by Fernando Vicente.
Julio Cortázar, seen by Fernando Vicente.

Morelli spoke of something like that when he wrote: "Heisenberg reading until noon, notes, cards. The porter's boy brings me the mail, and we talk. As he tells me, he gives two little jumps on the left foot, three on the right, two on the left. I ask him why two and three, and not two and two or three and three. He looks at me surprised, does not understand. Sensation that Heisenberg and I are on the other side of a territory, while the child is still on horseback, with one foot in each one, without knowing it, and that he will soon be on our side and all communication will have been lost. Communication with what, for what? "

But without a doubt, where Cortázar plays with the very essence of the physical laws of space and time is in his story entitled The pursuer, in which he tells the story of a jazz musician, Johnny Carter, who forgets his sax in a subway car in Paris, absorbed by his own discovery about the elasticity of time. In the aforementioned story, Cortázar identifies time as a category of understanding, being that time, in reality, does not exist for Johnny Carter. For him, it is we who make time exist, since time is in ourselves.

The internal time changes, varies and permutes, conditioned by the trip in the metro. This is what saxophonist Johnny Carter realizes and his discovery absorbs him in such a way that, in his distracted state, he forgets his saxophone. In this way, enter a different time. When the subway stops, it will realize that everything thought, or touched, between one station and another, can not fit in the few minutes that lasts the journey between two stops.

What Cortázar tells us in his story is what he himself experienced when traveling in the Paris metro, while he was reflecting on one of those scientific articles he read in Le Monde. Those were the moments when he went from one stop to another, both distant for just a few minutes, crossing the tunnel, when arguments and events were reproduced in his head to apply to his stories.

Submerged in the same delayed elasticity that allowed Johnny Carter to put the music in time, Cortázar let himself be assaulted by propositions, theses and judgments that, in the street, outside the subway, would have taken him hours.

The stone ax It's a section where Montero Glez, with a desire for prose, exercises its particular siege on scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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