Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 08:48:18 EDT
First, do you know of the observation of past and future expounded by Augustine
However one may critique this concept from a strictly scientific point of view,
it can have a profound impact upon how one apart from modern scientific
technicalities views human consciousness. Moreover, linguistic analysis has to
be based upon concepts likely to reside within the masses within this of that
Maybe something close to Augustine's observation can be imparted within this
very sentence, if I point out how you are experiencing time as you read the
sentence, for the part of the sentence that you have already read lies in the
past from your standpoint, but the unknown remainder that you have yet to read
lies in the future from your standpoint, and, if you try very hard to find the
present that lies between that past and that future that may have just now
dawned upon you as a result of what this sentence itself says, you would have a
very hard time finding it, for it will begin to seem like some kind of
infinitely small knife's edge over which future slides to become past, so that
you will have been left without any present in which to be, and which may
indeed serve as prima facie evidence of your own non-existence.
If this thinking should be pursued in a rather philosophical vein, it could be
used as a bridge to faith, for despite the illogicality of finding no real
extent for 'the present', but at the same time seeming to exist, one could
begin to wonder -- especially because any concept of any measurable present
moment begins to seem unthinkable, as being infinitely splittable, or more
refinedly divisible -- whether where future becomes past might be where our
life touches the Eternal One, blessed be He.
But, since linguistic analysis concerns what goes on in the minds of live human
beings as they practice their transmission and reception of communicative
symbolism, let us begin to reexamine linguistic assumptions on the basis of
a saner view of the term 'present time'.
If, with an Augustinian view of past and future in mind, one reexamines
grammarians' statements about present tense forms, one finds them mostly false
and also begins to see, from the standpoint of what the speaker or writer
probably meant, that present forms have beaucoup de other import than present
tense. As time allows, specific examples may follow.
This viewpoint of time, just now crassly verbalized, is intended here to raise
the technical question whether the presence of an augment establishes that the
form cannot be meant of the future or interpeted to be meant of the future.
The gnomic usage of aorists tests this hypothesis most obviously. You don't
have to forage for stuff like "Curiosity killed the cat." to find gnomic usage
in English. English translations of Proverbs will have been replete thereof
long since. Also John 13,31. &c.
Sorry to be so short. Must run. Try to offer really specific stuff tomorrow.
Please let Ellen know that the fact that legal papyri do just what I said they
did does not imply that that's the only way it can be done. If a writer chose
to perpetrate such a recapitulation in the middle of a document, there'd be
freedom to do so. One can often speak or write this way or that, be it well or
bearded bill of asheville <firstname.lastname@example.org>
unca not having approved either whom or thereof.
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