庞蒂论时间 3

庞蒂论时间 478

Now, no sooner
have I introduced an observer, whether he follows the river or whether
he stands on the bank and observes its flow, than temporal relationships
are reversed. In the latter case, the volume of water already carried by is
not moving towards the future, but sinking into the past; what is to
come is on the side of the source, for time does not come from the
past. It is not the past that pushes the present, nor the present that
pushes the future, into being; the future is not prepared behind the
observer, it is a brooding presence moving to meet him, like a storm on
the horizon.


If the observer sits in a boat and is carried by the current,
we may say that he is moving downstream towards his future, but the
future lies in the new landscapes which await him at the estuary, and
the course of time is no longer the stream itself: it is the landscape as it
rolls by for the moving observer. Time is, therefore, not a real process,
not an actual succession that I am content to record. It arises from my
relation to things.


Within things themselves, the future and the past are
in a kind of eternal state of pre-existence and survival; the water which
will flow by tomorrow is at this moment at its source, the water
which has just passed is now a little further downstream in the valley.
What is past or future for me is present in the world. It is often said
that, within things themselves, the future is not yet, the past is no
longer, while the present, strictly speaking, is infinitesimal, so that time


That is why Leibnitz was able to define the objective world as
mens momentanea, and why Saint Augustine, in order to constitute time,
required, besides the presence of the present, a presence of the past and
of the future. But let us be clear about what they mean.

那就是为什么莱布尼兹能够定义客观的世界,作为是瞬间的心灵mens momentanea,为什么圣奥古斯丁为了构成时间,要求过去与未来的存在,作为目前的存在旁边。但是那是什么意思,让我们弄清楚。

If the objective
world is incapable of sustaining time, it is not because it is in some way
too narrow, and that we need to add to it a bit of past and a bit of


Past and future exist only too unmistakably in the world, they
exist in the present, and what being itself lacks in order to be of the
temporal order, is the not-being of elsewhere, formerly and tomorrow.
The objective world is too much of a plenum for there to be time.


Past and future withdraw of their own accord from being and move over
into subjectivity in search, not of some real support, but, on the contrary,
of a possibility of not-being which accords with their nature. If
we separate the objective world from the finite perspectives which
open upon it, and posit it in itself, we find everywhere in it only so
many instances of ‘now’.


These instances of ‘now’, moreover, not
being present to anybody, have no temporal character and could not
occur in sequence. The definition of time which is implicit in the
comparisons undertaken by common sense, and which might be formulated
as ‘a succession of instances of now’1 has not even the disadvantage
of treating past and future as presents: it is inconsistent, since it
destroys the very notion of ‘now’, and that of succession.



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