The Ephemera(l) Institution 2

by Martin Gantman

There is a viewpoint that must be placed on this speculative table, for to ignore its possibility would be a disservice to this investigation that I have undertaken. It is important to reflect on the likelihood that The Ephemera(l) Institution serves merely as a distraction from the other more immediate, necessary, and concrete ingredients that persist within the framework of what we see as a productive life.

It is important to take into consideration that this (potential) distraction, the institution, was created neither through an organic passing nor through some inexplicable Darwinian episode. The institution came about purposefully and thus it would be inexcusable if one ignored the prospect of a calculated deception. Ephemera, the memory of a passing, is at the same time the name of and the clue to this potential conceit.

Under the guise of serving to awaken one’s perceptual horizon and toward broadening their noncognitive gaze, The Ephemera(l) Institution can entice one to tiptoe into the mucilaginous sand of a surrogate, but not necessarily counterfeit, existential construction. With its paeans to such disparate occurrences as the massive destruction of World War II Cologne, a remnant of earth taken from the remains of Pompeii, or the despondent trek of W. G. Sebald through East Anglia, not to disregard, most relevantly, its irresolvable embrace of Fata Morgana, the fleeting and dissembled images that sometimes distract our visual passage; even the most cautious traversal of the institution can addle our attention causing us to lose sight of more significant and suitable mindfulness.

Our determination to attend to our “concrete existential environment” allows space for the formation of the pond from which such an institution may spawn. Its embryo, ephemera, affirms that this fabrication is not a reliable substitute for a considered path since, at any time, The Ephemera(l) Institution, in keeping with the evanescent character of its ideology, could simply dematerialize leaving only a residue, a burnish, upon all of the other constructions upon which we gaze.