Archive | December 2020

The Social Contract

I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “the Social Contract”. Political scientists use the term to describe good-faith relations consent between government and the governed which constitutes what is called “legitimation”. It is, in those terms, what is called “the consensus” or the condition of “unanimity”. Social peace is largely the result of all parties respecting and adhering in good faith, and not in bad faith, to the social contract. It’s this social contract that gives us the term “nation-state” those being the people and its government. When the social contract breaks down through bad faith actors, this stable relation between nation and state also breaks down. This is called loss of legitimation. This is pretty much the situation today. When we speak of “bad faith” then, it is because one or more parties has broken the social contract.

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Time as a Pressure

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.


I am presently reading a book (nearing the conclusion) by Christopher Dewdney entitled Soul of the World: Unlocking the Secrets of Time. It’s mostly the personal memoir of one man’s impressions of time. Mostly, it’s value lies in demonstrating how time now weighs heavy on the contemporary mind as a kind of pressure or stress. This is the implication of Rilke’s remark which Gebser, I think, would approve. For what Rilke is describing there is also what Gebser would call “concretion” or “presentiation”.

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Time and Time-Freedom, II

I recall reading — and I think it was in Alexander Eliot’s The Global Myths — that among West African story-tellers it is customary to preface the story with a formula that translates as, “Once upon a time, a time that was, a time that is, a time that will be…”

This formula is interesting for what it reveals about Gebser’s own understanding of the “timelessness” of the magical consciousness structure. It is not as though the magical consciousness did not know time as past, present, and future times. The magical consciousness just never considered them as real as timelessness. This paradox is what is condensed into the formula — “Once upon a time, a time that was, a time that is, a time that will be…” or, as Rumi put it, “it’s all in the middle of its happening”.

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