Unreal Nature

April 15, 2018

Choice Cannot Be Postponed

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:51 am

… If temporality is a weight, it’s a salutary weight that brings human being back down to the ground of experience and action.

Continuing through Time and Freedom by Christophe Bouton, translated by Christopher Macann (2014). This is from his chapter on Kierkegaard:

… The aesthetic moment is ephemeral, the ethical moment is serious, because the individual runs the risk of no longer having the same capacity for choice if he waits until the following moment. Choice cannot be postponed or drowned in an endless deliberation oscillating between different possibilities of equal value. Possibilities are not objects of contemplation, still less of fascination, they are tasks destined to be accomplished in reality.

[ … ]

… Existing is a difficult and absorbing task, and which consists in holding together time and eternity, in combining the one with the other without sacrificing either of the two terms. The ambiguity of Kierkegaard’s thinking about time stems from this quite specific conception of human existence, whose internal tension is best described with the help of the Platonic image of the winged harness (Phaedrus).

[line break added] [The] Existing human being is like a coachman whose carriage is drawn by two horses, an infinitely rapid “Pegasus” and an “old nag” who has difficulty in moving forward. The winged Pegasus symbolizes eternity, the nag symbolizes temporality. With Plato, the bad horse finishes up dragging the soul out of the field of truth and making it fall from the sky to the earth.

[line break added] In Kierkegaard’s rendering, each horse is necessary to release the passion of existence: “I have often thought about how one might bring a person into passion. So I have considered the possibility of getting him astride a horse and then frightening the horse into the wildest gallop, or even better, in order to draw out the passion properly, the possibility of getting a man who wants to go somewhere as quickly as possible (and therefore was already in something of a passion) astride a horse that can hardly walk.”

[line break added] Passion arises out of the combination of eternity, which accelerates, shortens, and intensifies existence, and temporality, which slows down, temporizes, and sharpens desire by differing it. If temporality is a weight, it’s a salutary weight that brings human being back down to the ground of experience and action: “in his fall, he understood that he was too heavy for his dream, and ever since he came to love the weight that made him fall” (Pierre Reverdy).

My most recent previous post from Bouton’s book is here.

-Julie

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