On Temporality

Warning: philosophic rant ahead. You have been advised.

Temporality–what is temporality? Time. What is time? A series of nows. Yet man is perpetually obsessed with the future. What is future? Projection–what we, of the present, will the nows of the next moments to be. This projection is built on the frame of past experiences. What is the past? Nows that have come before. Before what? Now.

No death penalty

Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

Death is a product of the now. Many argue death can be a long time coming, a drawn out torture of months, weeks, years. It is the end of age, the end of sickness. This is the wrong way to view it. Dying is a series of moments, of nows, that lead to the conclusion, a separate entity: Death. Death is not a state, a product, a condition. It is simply another now. It is, and the being to which it transpires is not. The being is gone. What remains is a corpse–another being.

As it is said, death doesn’t happen to us. Death is a certainty, but it simply happens, and we are no longer. We are beings toward death, always toward death, but when death comes, we are not there to experience it. The we that makes the beings of ourselves are dead. This dead being replaces the being that was. Death is the cessation of our existence, and thus the end of being. An entity remains behind but that entity is no longer our being.

The real question that dominates the world, then, is whether the being-that-is-we becomes another being when this state of being ends. Obviously the entity of the body remains–dead–but the question is whether our being becomes another being, or every trace of all that once constituted our being ceases, infinitely. The end of time–for us, at any rate.

Theological questions–joy.

3 thoughts on “On Temporality

  1. I don’t believe in reincarnation, which is what you seem to be touching upon in the last paragraph. Of course, I can’t prove that it doesn’t exist, but neither can we prove that it does exist. I’m just inclined towards not believing in it, because I like to see the evidence for things before my eyes before I can be sure. I’m not saying that this way of thinking is right, but it does seem to be consistent with the modern way of thinking.

    I like it when you say that death doesn’t happen to us. Because when we die, we are gone, not there. How ironic that we fear death, and yet we are not there when it happens, because our life has ceased to exist. I hope I understood you correctly here.

    I’m not offended by philosophic rants btw. I always seem to get sucked into them. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  2. I enjoyed reading this a lot. I might bust out my philosophy books again one of these days.

    I think one of the biggest problems people have with this Very Large Question is the concept of ceasing to be. Not Being seems to be a stronger fear than death itself, even though as you said, we won’t be around to experience it.

    To tie into what you said, our very sense of self stems from the experience of those nows, the string of moments that becomes our lives — there is never anything but now, but we get ensconced in the past and the future to give our nows some sort of context and to give our me-ness a sense of existence and purpose. We spend our lives striving to create meaning from moments long past or far in the future and then fear the now where all our efforts become meaningless and we vanish.

    Great post, Chris!

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