Set the bird’s wings with gold and it will never again soar in the sky.

— Tagore, Stray Birds 231

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise

— from William Blake’s notebook

2 thoughts on “Eternity”

  1. Dear Gary,
    These are nice texts on a great topic. Eliot’s “still-point of the turning world” (Four Quartets) has always interested me. My understanding of Husserl’s theory of time-consciousness wherein the presencing of the now-phase of a temporal identity is not present, and where there is a fundamental paradox that I cannot presence my beginning or ending, feed my reveries.

    Hope you are well. The summer is flying by and we leave about Sept. 7th or so. We’ll have to see one another soon, but perhaps not this summer – during which time you can explain “firstness” to me. I am interested in the sense in which consciousness is a metafact which all other facts presuppose – but a “fact”, of course, that I cannot make present as a fact in any normal sense.


    1. Hola Jim, and thanks for the comment!

      Yes, the paradoxes of “presence” fascinate me too, and in Turning Signs I keep coming back to them in various ways … and Peircean Firstness is involved, though I don’t know if I can explain how!

      The first thing you should know about Firstness is that it has nothing to do with priority in a temporal order. Or with “eternity” conceived as infinite duration. Time itself is a form of Thirdness.
      I don’t know how far you’ve gone in the book, but you could do a search for Firstness in TS using the search box at the top of Then searching the pages that appear in the list, you find dozens of contexts, including some definitions like this:
      “Firstness may be defined as follows: It is the mode in which anything would be for itself, irrespective of anything else, so that it would not make any difference though nothing else existed, or ever had existed, or could exist. Now this mode of being can only be apprehended as a mode of feeling. For there is no other mode of being which we can conceive as having no relation to the possibility of anything else.”
      But then we can only really talk about it in connection with Secondness and Thirdness as well. And that dialogue needs to be in real time, I think.

      We’ll find a way to have it sooner or later!

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