In lieu of Philosopher Fridays this week, I’m offering some concluding remarks of my thematic mini-series on Literary Time Consciousness. It’s been a lot of fun to focus my posts for the past few weeks, and I’ve learned a lot from writing through C.S. Lewis, Boethius, Heraclitus, Husserl, and Kafka, as well as from reading comments and suggested articles.
If I had to sum up the series in brief, I’d be left with more questions than answers. Are we better off describing the temporal experience of streaming as an eternal presence, as Husserl suggests, or to conclude that “There is No Now” at all, as is argued by Marcelo Gleiser (article pointed out to me by SelfAwarePatterns, special thanks for the fascinating find!)? Does “objective time” bind us in a non-reciprocal way that grounds our phenomenological experience, or can we unground that by the way we approach life – and literature?
While I’m certainly not done with these questions of time and narrative temporality, I’ll need to do a lot of reading before I continue, and so my aim here is to suggest where this inquiry might take me next.
1) For a general overview of time and temporality as philosophic concepts, check out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entries on time and temporal consciousness. How Stuff Works has a fun little introduction to the science of time that nicely complements the SEP’s take.
2) If you’re looking for another pre-Socratic view on time as the measure of temporal consciousness, you’ll want to look into Antiphon the Sophist.
3) Turning to the post-Socratic, I can’t help recommend my favorite philosopher, Saint Augustine, particularly Book Eleven of Confessions (or if you’re feeling a little lazy, there’s this. I found it because a student plagiarized it, but it turned out to be a pretty decent summary) and this nice little commentary from the Harpers Magazine Blog (fun fact: I used to fantasize about working as an editor or writer for Harper’s).
4) Jumping radically forward in time (and right past Kant, for the present – though I should probably mention him too) I found this 80’s-tastic educational video about Newton and Einstein’s understanding of time to be extremely accessible. The combination of creepy synth music and the fuzziness of the image makes your feel like you’re getting lectured by a soft-spoken ghost, though. For more depth, I like the SEP’s entry on Newton, a Discovery Magazine article for an overview on Einstein. I’m not sure how I feel about this post on Einstein’s understanding of time from the site Everything Forever, but it’s worth a look.
5) Those looking to continue the conversation about time and temporality as literary constructs, look here, here, and here. I’m still mulling over some of the points in these links, but perhaps sometime I’ll be able to put together some commentary.
So there you have it. With that, I bring Literary Time Consciousness to a close here at Soliloquies, but I would love to see what other have to say on the topic. If you find yourself moved to post about subjective narrative time and temporality (particularly in literature) I invite you to post a link in the comments here (or Pingback to this post) so I can find it!