I learned of the passing of Charlie Kinley, a neighbor of our family’s for as long as I can remember. I visited him last December with my aunt, and was astonished at his sharp memory at age 93. I tried to sketch his portrait from memory, after I returned to North Carolina after the holidays. Last week I got the great opportunity to once again visit Charlie, when my aunt insisted I show him the sketch. He sort of smiled briefly and mumbled something like “It don’t look much like me.” As I studied his weathered face, I realized just how far off I was in capturing its noble lines and form. Alas, I learned last evening that Charlie had passed away. Thus, I tried another sketch tonight in memory of the kind neighbor who once farmed the land that my great grandfather once owned. I still didn’t get it right, but I hope Charlie has finally found rest…
Eric Charles White wrote in 1987:
Kairos is an ancient Greek word that means “the right moment'” or “the opportune.” The two meanings of the word apparently come from two different sources. In archery, it refers to an opening, or “opportunity” or, more precisely, a long tunnel-like aperture through which the archer’s arrow has to pass. Successful passage of a kairos requires, therefore, that the archer’s arrow be fired not only accurately but with enough power for it to penetrate. The second meaning of kairos traces to the art of weaving. There it is “the critical time” when the weaver must draw the yarn trough a gap that momentarily opens in the warp of the cloth being woven. Putting the two meanings together, one might understand kairos to refer to a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved. (White 13)
In both senses, an artist (an archer, a weaver, an orator) must seize upon the crucial moment to perform accurately and skillfully in order to achieve a goal. The archer will connect suddenly and impactfully with his target; the weaver will forge a lasting bond upon which he can later build. It should not surprise, then, that the sophists seized upon “kairos” as a term defining the goal of effective communication.
The term “kairos” is used in theology to describe the qualitative form of time. In rhetoric kairos is “a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved.” In the New Testament kairos means “the appointed time in the purpose of God”, the time when God acts (e.g. Mark 1.15, the kairos is fulfilled). It differs from the more usual word for time which is chronos (kronos).
Happy New Year to All!
One of my goals is to sketch something every day. There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as taking a blank page in a sketchbook and, after some mark-making, ending up with an image that represents something. As a beginning point, I thought it was appropriate to draw my good friends Kevin and Courtney, whom I’ve had the good fortune of knowing for many years. Hope everyone enjoys a productive, peaceful, and outrageously stupendous year!
Now that I’ve enjoyed watching “White Christmas,” “Elf,” “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” and “Rudolph”, I can finally feel the spirit of the season. Of course, shopping is still not completed, but at least there’s some egg nog chilled in the fridge for later. Here is a blast from the past… my sister and I with a particularly smarmy department store Santa, circa 1970.
I ran across this painting, created by John Baldesarri, whose witty and thought-provoking work is currently on exhibit at the Met in NYC.
I also have always liked this quote from Mr. Baldesarri: