We use the capital letter B in Being to distinguish Being from being. We follow Heidegger in doing so. Being cannot be defined; to define is to reduce to more basic and fundamental elements; but Being is the most fundamental category; there is nothing more fundamental to which Being can be reduced; thus, Being cannot be defined; but it is always already understood by us. Being is similar to the notions of point or set in geometry and algebra respectively, which are not defined since they are the basis of all subsequent definitions.
Being is the the state of all beings; being is that which is in Being: It is. Thus, being is the object and Being is its state. I am a being because I am, that is, because I am in Being. With this rudimentary distinction we can go ahead and further analyze Being. Since Being is not defined the best we can do is to analyze “what it means for something to Be?”
The cup in front of me is a being; it is in Being: It is. But what are the conditions for the possibility of my experience and assertion of the Being of this cup?
The cup is because it keeps being experienced. It has to keep Being in order to be the cup at all. Thus to Be is to keep Being. But to keep Being is to keep Being as time passes; it is a possibility in time. If time doesn’t pass the cup cannot keep Being. The Being of the cup is something in time; but also it is an enduring in time as the cup: To Be is to endure in time as itself.
We are able to say that something is in Being only within the passage of time and only when that something endures in time as itself. The cup could not be if it didn’t endure as the cup.
But the Being of the cup is, namely it is witnesses only if my experience too endures in time along with the endurance of the cup, enduring precisely as my experience. In other words, the cup is because my experience of the cup endures in time precisely as an experience of the cup. This can be synthesized into one condition: The Being of the cup is a Being in time of an experience of the cup. If my experience didn’t endure in time precisely as my experience no Being could be experienced. Thus, Being is a possibility only in and through experience. When I am thinking of the Being of the cup in the absence of the cup the Being of the cup is an endurance in my thinking of it. This time the cup is in my thinking; before it was in my seeing; later it is in my theorizing about it as a physicist perhaps; but it is always a Being as an enduring within an act of cognition, within an experience of some sort.
When I posit that the moon is, that it exists, even if I am not looking at it, the Being of the moon is now a possibility in my cognition that ” the moon exists independently;” even here the Being of the moon is in my theorizing about it and not independently of this cognition, though the content of such theorizing is the independent existence of the moon.
In order for me to know and assert this objectivity, about the moon, the very cognition that asserts it must itself endure in time, itself Be, in order for the objectivity of the moon to be at all. Objectivity is constituted within the temporal flow of subjectivity. The objectivity of the moon, which is its independent existence, is itself a human cognition, thus through and through subjective: Only a subject can be objective. In the absolute absence of a subject the notion of objectivity makes no sense whatsoever.
Only subjectivity can assert the independent existence of phenomena in its own absence. Objectivity, independent existence, is a purely subjective position, for it can never be verified empirically or theoretically independent of a subject, all such verification being a verification by a subject. Any attempt at verifying the independent existence of an object destroys the very independence under investigation: To know if something exists when it is not experienced we have to somehow observe it, directly or indirectly. But such observation is a bringing back into the temporal flow of subjective experience, whether in the form of perception or theorizing, etc. Thus, independent existence is a metaphysical assumption held only by a conscious subject: Independent existence is itself a pure notion inside consciousness.
Being is a temporal phenomenon; it is Being in time. It is endurance in time as itself. But this time, itself being centered around a now-moment, is subjective time. The endurance of objects is endurance within the temporal flow of subjective experience. To Be is to endure in time, or more precisely to endure in a now; thus Being is possible only for a being that has a now. But now is a possibility only of consciousness. It is meaningless to speak of a now in the absence of a conscious experience: Now is always the now of a conscious experience. It is in the face of consciousness that time takes a three-fold division of past-now-future. Consciousness makes such division since it is itself a Being-in-the-now, thus its now divides totality into two neighboring regions centered about the now: Past and future are the two regions existing only for a consciousness since their existence is created by the now-sword of consciousness. This is also shown in Einstein’s theory of relativity which asserts that now depends entirely on an observer. Universal now is an empty and meaningless notion.
Now being a possibility of consciousness, and Being understood as the keep-Being-in-Now as itself, we see that Being is a possibility only for consciousness. Being is Being-of consciousness for consciousness. Being is a Being-for consciousness.
“To Be in the absence of consciousness” is itself a position possible only for a consciousness. Only consciousness can conceive of the Being of objects in the absence of itself. Only a consciousness can conceive of and assert “the independent existence of objects.” Independent existence of objects is an existence within a cognitive act, a cognitive act that can assume its own negation, hence absence, while the object keeps Being; but this keeping in Being is precisely inside the very cognitive act that is constantly negating itself in order to produce the metaphysical notion of objectivity. When I assume an object existing in the absence of my seeing it is consciousness that is cognizing the not-being-seen of the object. The being while not-being-seen or the being while not-being-experienced is a being within the cognition that can imagine a not-being-seen or not-being-experienced.
Only a consciousness can imagine things in the absence of itself, in the absence of experience; but since such imagination itself being a cognition of consciousness, Being is not possible without and outside consciousness; and ironically only a consciousness can reject this. To deny the absolute character of consciousness is itself a denial by consciousness.
It is in principle impossible to deny the absolute and universal character of consciousness; only a consciousness can imagine something existing outside consciousness: Outside consciousness is itself a notion within consciousness, for if it weren’t a notion within consciousness, then the notion would never arise in the first place. The notion outside-consciousness arises inside consciousness, thus making consciousness to be both inside and outside itself, hence permeating all things. Consciousness is identical with totality; and of course to say otherwise is only possible if consciousness knows totality in its own absence; but knowing totality in the absence of consciousness is a knowing by consciousness, and hence a consciousness that is in principle identical with totality.
Independent existence from consciousness is an independent existence for a consciousness, and thus depending on it from the very beginning. Objectivity is a notion inside subjectivity. Nature cannot produce subjective experience, for nature is itself something known and existing inside subjective experience. Nature is a subjective experience that we have named “nature.” The name stands for a collection of subjective experiences; the objectivity of nature is only in name, name itself being another object-for a consciousness.
When a deluded man says that “consciousness is a product of natural processes” he is oblivious to the fact that it is consciousness that makes this assertion, and that “consciousness being a product of natural processes” is itself an experience of consciousness: There is nothing outside experience. There is nothing outside consciousness. To say there is something outside consciousness is itself a saying by consciousness, and hence inside consciousness.
What appears as existence is nothing but the ecstasy of consciousness.
Consciousness is absolute: Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.
4 thoughts on “Being in Time: The Primacy of Consciousness”
Great effort to bring back the primacy of consciousness in perception. It is thought which asserts that objects are independently real. When we see the moon, it is thought which asserts that the “moon is there”. The moon does not claim that it exists independently! If we ignore the thought’s assertion, our attention is back to our consciousness and we see that the moon is only an experience. In fact thought itself is revealed within consciousness! If thought is independent of consciousness, we will never know it. Then how come we can know an object, if it is independent of consciousness? Even if the eye sees the moon, what is conscious of the eye? It is mind or thought again, which brings us to our notice that eye is blind or not. Therefore consciousness is the perceiver of mind, mind is the perceiver of eye and eye is the perceiver of moon. That is how consciousness is primary. Traditional notion of perception says that moon’s image falls on the retina and then neurons take over. But neurons are supposed to reimagine the sensation from the 2-dimensional image into a 3-dimensional scene? Then it is again an idea of the neuron only. How does the neuron know if it is correctly imagining unless there is already a reference for each sensation, which again implies the experience already existing as an idea in brain. So it can only be that consciousness is primary and an idea within it becomes experience and the experience is back into memory as an idea! Dream is the example which we have to refer to where experience happens without any real, so called external world. That is the dream experience happens fully within consciousness, which means consciousness has the capacity to create experience and also make us believe that there is an external world, just like we believe an external world exists even while dreaming also. When we understand the primacy of consciousness, everything will make sense and human suffering due to separation from its true Self, will also end.
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Exactly. The real appearance of the world is itself the production of consciousness precisely as it is done in our dream. And once we understand, you put it perfectly that everything makes sense. We should see that experience is not about us, thus it can’t hurt us. An explosion inside a movie projected on the screen doesn’t destroy the screen. Life to is like that. And you beautifully put it in your comment.
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