Philosophers have long struggled with how to think about the present, which cannot be grasped because it has no duration. For Jean-Paul Sartre, the present was the border between facticity—what simply is, what has happened and cannot be changed—and transcendence, an opening to go beyond what and who one has been until this moment. Revolution illuminates this border. It is as if, in Blanche’s words from “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “You suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow.”
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
#89 / I Like That Chart!
A month or so ago, I referenced a Wall Street Journal article about Ukraine, written by Yale Professor Marci Shore. I particularly liked her statement about "the present." Here's what she said:
Understanding "the present" as the moment in which "transcendence" may occur, as the place where a "revolution" might begin, is exactly what I have always thought. In taking this approach to "the present," I am in the good company of George Fox:
Ye have no time but this present time, therefore prize your time, for your soul’s sake.
A day or so after writing that blog posting about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I came across the chart above, in a New York Times' article, titled, "How to Get Back the Time Covid Stole."
It seems to me that the chart illustrates exactly what Dr. Shore said (and what George Fox was talking about). Behind us, in the realm of "facticity," is what has been, and we all know that what has been can never be "transcended," because the past is over and done with; the past is signed, sealed, and determined.
But in "the present" is possibility. The present is the place where a revolution can occur - the place where you can choose some new direction. Look at all those possible paths ahead!
I like that chart!