Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Different World -- A Different Notion of Time

The following is a brief excerpt from the testimony of a Nazi concentration camp survivor at the trial, in Israel, of Adolph Eichmann, architect of the Holocaust.
  • The time there is not a concept as it is here in our planet. Every fraction of a second passed there was at a different rate of time. And the inhabitants of that planet had no names. They had no parents, and they had no children. They were not clothed as we are clothed here. They were not born there and they did not conceive there. They breathed and lived according to different laws of nature. They did not live according to the laws of this world of ours, and they did not die … [at this point in the testimony the witness collapses.]
Be that as it may.

That horrific quote calls to mind several of my own experiences and associations.  Though far more benign, my experiences of workplace mobbing -- a work environment often referred to as a Twilight Zone by other "experiencers" -- resonate with the other-worldly and suprahuman.

Take for example my former employer, Akin Gump's sworn Response to Interrogatories filed with the D.C. Dept. of Human Rights (May 22, 1992) in the unlawful job termination complaint I lodged against the firm: it posits the following nonsensical time sequence:

Claimant, Gary Freedman, was initially employed [June 13, 1988] by Respondent law firm, Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. as a temporary employee for a specific project (See Attachment B). Later Claimant was employed as a full-time legal assistant ("paralegal") to manage massive amounts of documents for a major client (See Attachment C) [August 1, 1989]. Shortly thereafter [March 1989], the client filed for bankruptcy protection and eventually the legal work diminished. In an attempt to find comparable work for the Claimant, a decision was made to transfer him to the Litigation Support Department. Because Claimant preferred to work in isolation, Respondent attempted to accommodate him -- and did so until work and space constraints became a problem (See Attachment D).

It was as if I did not live according to the laws of this world of ours.  Rather, I lived in a world consistent with that created by imaginers of the extra-terrestrial.

Yes, we can dwell on certain experiences for only so long before our need for the real and the human overtakes us --  just as the need for oxygen overtakes a suffocating man.