Time Deconstructed. Part 2. Augustine: Extension of the Mind

Introduction

In part 1 we analyzed the ethical or practical take on time of the Stoic philosopher Seneca. He characterized it as the only possession man can have. Time appeared to be the place of the dispersal of human life. But what is time? Do we perceive it passively as something external?

The most profound things are the most common – they make us wonder when we stop receiving them and attempt to perceive. Time is one of them. Everyday life greatly depends on a notion of time and its application. The notion comes from everyday experience, but it should be refined in order be able to contemplate over profound questions.

We will examine in the article how Augustine reconstructs the way the concept of time appeared out of human experience. One can say that eventually he does not give a definition of time, yet, as we believe, he intimates what that is, and also shows the activity of consciousness with its three acts in the construction with the prominent role of memory as that which makes time extended.

Alex Strohl Back to my favourite place in Vancouver
The picture is kindly provided by Alex Strohl

 

Augustine: Extension of the Mind

Phenomenal consciousness does not know that in everyday activity it operates within the universal called ‘time.’ Time appears to it as an object (an image of a line where the point of the present is ever moving further). It takes the division into the past, present, and future for granted, as if it discovered it by chance. However, the negative point that has ever disappearing moments in itself is a universal, that is, the now. Consciousness needs to give the now an extension to speak comprehensively about it. When the extension is provided, where and by which time will be measured if it proved itself to be, in experience, only a disappearing point? To answer all these questions, Augustine reconsiders the givens. Continue reading “Time Deconstructed. Part 2. Augustine: Extension of the Mind”

Time Deconstructed. Part 1. Seneca: Saving Time

Introduction

In these series we would like to present how time can be thought of in philosophy – that is, time reflected out and through man’s experience and then put back into the experience to transform or modify it. If time is viewed as an objective essence beyond all consciousness, then we deal with a scientific view, which is not the purpose here.

Alex Strohl Alone in the water
The picture is kindly provided by Alex Strohl

Seneca: Saving time 

The first reflection upon the nature of time should begin with the acknowledgment of the shortage of human life. It cannot be yet profound, and instead, it shows that people have only finite time at their disposal. As obvious it seems, the lack of such awareness is evident in a person who acts as if though he were prepared to exist forever. In other words, he does not attach any value to time or squanders it. Do not jump to the conclusion that the purpose of awareness is to rouse a person from sleep to the full potential of life and to fill the latter with excitement. For a philosopher, and especially the one we are going to talk about, the life void of proper thinking would be even worse than day-to-day reality of opinions. As an example, we are taking a stoic who, by the very nature of Stoicism, places value only on the life of the mind.
Continue reading “Time Deconstructed. Part 1. Seneca: Saving Time”

Plotinus on Ugliness of Self-Ignorance

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We often try to justify our activities. Especially nowadays, if we study philosophy, we want to explain the goal of philosophy to ourselves and others. But do we really need anything more than this – ‘We ourselves possess beauty when we are true to our own being; our ugliness is in going over to another order; our self-knowledge, that is to say, is our beauty; in self-ignorance we are ugly.’ (Plotinus. Enn. V.8 / The Heart of Plotinus: The Essential Enneads. p. 186).