David Mcdermott’s ideas about time

GB Shaw said in one of his great prefaces that genius people are distinguished by their vision, they see things we don’t see. Many artists are genius, and you may think of art, for example paintings, as a way for genius ppl to share with us their vision.

I heard today of such genius artist, called David Mcdermott. You just must hear the WNYC RadioLab program on him. He’s a successful painter, that succeeds in living in the past, in the sense that everything he uses is at least several decades old, & usually more than a century old! He’s doing it religiously, strongly believing that the past is better than the present.

Mcdermott says that drifting forward, & even worst swimming fast, is simply a death trap, that leads to death.

To visualize just 1 prediction of how the waterfall will look like, read the asshole unabomber manifesto.

Mcdermott claims that we have a choice, maybe even a duty, to move backwards & live in the past, any that we want.

Moreover he claims that there is no such thing as a point in time: every event is really eternal. Due to technology, it seems rather accurate. See virtual & recording technologies (e.g., Memex devices).

Basically, if we make space virtual, we can make time as well.

Listen to the WNYC RadioLab show “Beyond Time” on a bunch of ppl including Mcdermott that are creatively fighting time.



  1. I think McDermott is a bit retarded. Maybe 100 years retarded, I haven’t really met him.

    But reality is, we are born in today and you can’t do anything about it other than live in today. Trying to live in the past is an illusion. David lives in an era where cars exist, computers exist, and without all the things that exist today, he would have absolutely no knowledge of the past. The only reason he has managed to “live in the past” is because of today’s technology. Furthermore, no matter how hard he tries, he will encounter things in his life that are not 100 years old, so what happens then? Why does he not go mental, like an actual person from the 1900’s would if they saw a car, or a mobile, or a HDTV, or a camera, or an mp3 player?

    I think people like him are quite funny, and thank god there aren’t many of those, otherwise who knows where we would be right now..

  2. Unbelievable. I just finished listening to this episode. You people think this little man is a genius!? From the way he describes his own life and childhood, it seems painfully obvious that he felt like he didn’t fit in to the modern world, so he just built up some historic walls and retreated into the past. His house is like Michael Jackson’s backyard Wonderland, but for the turn of the last century enthusiasts. His “ideas” about time consist of nothing more than making a bland remark about his fireplace and getting lost in an old movie. Absolutely nothing he says is profound or philosophical.

    And he insists on bed pans and old floors, but he does business at a modern bank, which he claims is a “nightmare”? I guess the biggest sacrifice David McDermott can really be expected to make is throwing away the toothpaste cap. A real visionary, that one.

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