Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Time is Less Scarce Than Ever

According to the insightful Mr. Price. So in a way we’re closer to Marx’s end of history than ever and without the blood and guts of revolution. But we can’t get over the thought that we’re wasting time, and that means we still can’t live in the unobsessive way Marx had in mind for us. We dress down more than ever to show how casual our lives are, but in dressing down we look more and more like members of Marx’s proletariat--who exist only to produce and for nothing more. Modern materialism--capitalist and socialist--has convinced us that all we have is time, and so in wasting THAT each of us is wasting what little there is of his or her momentary and paltry being. The less we have to do, the more we’re filled with the thought that time is slipping away. So it’s surely the most religious Americans who’re best in being in love in the present. Marx (and even Locke?), by depriving us of love, deprived us of the present for as long as we remain self-conscious and mortal.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Wonderful post. I would, however, question whether the problem is that Marx and Locke are guilty of robbing us of the present. It seems rather that their crime is to have robbed us of the eternal. Christians are in a better position to "waste" the present as they have a healthy appreciation of the eternal and that the present isn't all there is or all that it's cracked up to be. Marx and Locke follow Hobbes in denying that their is anything in reality that corresponds to words like infinity or eternity.

Fancy philosophy...waste of time. The real problem is that, for the first time in history, we have the leisure time to fret about the emptiness of our lives. In the past peoples' lives were just as empty and meaningless, but they lived so close to subsistence that they didn't have much time to ponder how awful everything was/is. Now we do...that's progress!

JC--The only way for a self-conscious being to enjoy the present for what it is is to believe he or she is more than time. So we agree. The question remains concerning what is eternity or in what sense or senses human beings are more than temporal beings. Does the WHO transcend time or just the WHAT? Great and flattering comment, I love it. BP--It's good to know that emptiness and meaninglessness persist no what what we do.

I still haven't figured out how exactly thinkers like Marx or Locke or any other dead white male regardless of ideology or any dead person period regardless of sex and race can be said to have robbed us of a present they did not live in. Now trying to figure this out might very well rob you of the present, but that is what you get for trying to steal from the past. It would seem that in almost no sense at all are human beings more than temporal beings, if by a sort of game we ascribe agency to Hobbes for pointing out something that is obvious concerning eternity and the infinite. Descartes lives on in the Co-ordinate plane found on any Ti-83 calculator. Contra Bristleconepine Progress might very well hinge upon stealing from the past that which is infinite or eternal, or at least conceptually that which is both bounded and finite but infinite or incapable of falsification. If we knew the name of the person who said that 2+2=4 it would in no way imply that he was eternal, as this knowledge is essentially analytic. I suppose one could say that by pushing the conversation in this direction I am giving agency to Kant.

But John Coleman's atribution of agency in comment 1 is simply an atribution of agency to that which is eternal by virtue of also being an analytic proposition. Hobbes, Locke and Marx are dead, but if you want to hold the crazy idea that any of these lives on from discovering an analytic concept, then you might as well argue that there are no apriori propositions, of course as soon as you know what you are talking about then there are apriori propositions as surely as 2+2=4.

I don't see how a being being time is an analytic apriori proposition, such that thinking one is more than time makes any sense(you aren't required to think of yourself as time to begin with). This confusion is made even greater if you want to say that one can go beyond time by becomming an apriori analytic proposition(this is impossible, but to be associated with is possible)

In fact since a large part of who we are in time is associated with what we like and dislike and love and hate, and since we are also quite a bit more than analytic or synthetic propositions about us can name we are mortal and finite, in some sense we live on if our synthetic judgements live on(i.e. the Heisman award and college football)

Now certainly we are dead, and for some the attitude is I am dead so I no longer have to care...in this sense the continuation of synthetic judgements matters not when one is unable to perceive and enjoy them. On the flip side of this you have Newton beaming like a chester cat in every activity where gravity is involved. The dead white man is still holding us down! But white men can't jump cause the black man is better at fighting the oppression. Of course Naismith lives on as the inventor of basketball...and he might also live on as presbytarian ministers live on, or as long as folks write to ponder what is wrong with Kansas...or perhaps in the preocupation with fitness and clean living...he lives on as long as his synthetic judgements are ours, but these might pass away and be modified just as he modified/invented basketball. In fact to be infinite one must be tied up in an analytic judgment, preferably an apriori one...of course this would be a recipe for disaster in terms of your reputation if folks took to blaming you for the finite nature of extended bodies. In truth because human beings are more than time, and more than just about any analytic or synthetic proposition, for this very reason they are finite. Only pythagoras is infinite, and only so long as he isn't and his synthetic judgments and way of life and speech dwindle away so that only an analytic apriori pythagorean theorem remains, because even if civilization was destroyed and the theorem forgotten, it could be rediscovered.

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