The following was presented to the esteemed members of the Positive Perspectives book club in February of two-thousand and nineteen.  It is meant to be a transcript to supplement the audio recording.


“In paragraph eleven of ‘Experience’, Emerson’s narrator realizes that in order to find peace he must abandon the impetus to construct a rational system since “life is not dialectics.” Thinking about life limits one’s capacity to live it. So, the narrator stops searching for a philosophical order to life and enjoys the present: “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live
the greatest number of good hours is wisdom.”

  • Taken from the philosophical magazine, “Philosophy Now.”

Some truths rumble too deep, beyond the range of words and rational thought, verging upon the nature of existence itself. Whenever a philosopher makes a statement about an ethical or unethical action, they are assuming that man has some sort of ability to do actions, and that man has the time to do actions. Time, a rather abstract concept, is only analyzed dialectically through great difficulty.
Therefore, it behooves one to use every tool at disposal to explore and perhaps cast some light on the Nature of time in relation to human existence. This is the best explanation I can give of the words I am about to share: for truly, I believe that poets make, not the best, but definitely the most honest philosophers. Living seeks for something beyond itself, something other, something completely foreign to us. Some think their way towards this end, and some feel and think their way
towards this end. Rhetoric may be full of great bombast, and dialectic may be very useful in analysis, but to put a deep line of demarcation between the two simply kills all the fun.

Thus, you will find that the work to follow is a strange mixture of dialectic and rhetoric, possessing levels of analysis, along with words meant to stir the maelstrom of the human soul. Some parts even verge on the didactic. I do not make any claims to mastery of the three styles and beg the patience of the gracious listener in the work to follow.

The dramatis personae, if you pardon such verbiage, are the following:

The Preacher
The Farmer(referred to as The Learned One)
The Serf
The Prince
The Merchant
The Scholar
The One

Ultimately, one will invariably find things in this work with which they take offense, and similarly, things with which they whole-heartedly agree. Let it be known, this author cares very little of the criticisms of his detractors and very little for the accolades of his supporters, not to say that I do not care for the people making the criticism or accolade, for truly for such was this written; I merely state
that the pastoral purpose dictates that which I have written: namely, the salvation of Man, the opening of eyes to Beauty, and the condemnation of all puristically natural views of the World, for as has been previously said, some Truths stumble-upon eternity unknowingly, and fall short of explanation. I urge you to come with me in this exploration, and perhaps we shall find something

Therefore, if any gain is to be apprehended, it seems right to call upon the Eudaimonia, the Good Indwelling Spirit, to imbue the words of my discourse, and the speaking of my mouth in this moment with the grace of enlightenment, that both my detractors and my supporters may find something with
which to better live their lives. Let us begin.

In retrospect, I implore the gracious listener to listen yet a little while more as I delineate what ideas between both of the sources were given some treatment in the monologue: Aquinas and Aristotle both discussed Happiness as the Good. Aristotle leaves Happiness somewhat vague and undefined, while Aquinas takes it a step further and calls it something similar to the highest contemplation of Divinity. Both seem to agree that Happiness consists in a sort of activity, but for one, ethical action, the mean between right and wrong, is the definition of Happiness,
while for the other, the inner-sanctum of the mind most readily apprehends the Good, which results in Happiness. The former summarizes the position of Aristotle, and might be subject to certain criticisms: namely, if virtue is merely the balance between two extremes, would it not be permissible to accept some evil in the Soul? If morality is merely a spectrum, can we call anything definitively good or evil? This idea was criticized in the section about “the Serf.” Let the listener take that for what he will.

In response to the monastic idea of Aquinas on Happiness, the preacher proposes Time as a field ready for plowing by Man’s free-agency, casting light on Time as the given for any ethical action to occur. Thus the entire work could be taken as a criticism of Aquinas, for if we were all to fall in line with Aquinas’s definition we must all use our time to become monks and nuns. That seems rather
absurd. Also, let the reader take that assertion for what he will.

Further response was given to the ideas of the moral mean in the portrayals of the Prince and the One. In keeping with certain religious tradition, it would be permissible to interpret the Prince as the Prince of this World or as an Anti-Christ figure, the embodiment of pure evil, the response of Hell to
the Person of Christ and the closest possible imitation thereof.

In my opinion, Aristotle’s idea of morality lacks romance because it does not deeply discuss the nature of these extremes. In plumbing the depths of the abyss, and gazing up into heaven, one will find that they are equally deep and profound. Thus, I attempted to portray the Prince and the One in striking similarity, both
showing might and power, but both essentially opposed because of their chosen ends.

Furthermore, It does not seem necessary to say this, but, if it must be argued, allow that the existence of human ends argues for the existence of Time, and the intrinsic link between Time and Ethics. As human action possesses ends towards which it strives, so also must Time have some sort of directionality. This is left purposefully vague because this is not a scientific treatise, and only a scientific treatise could properly delineate the precise beginning and end of Time.

In the closing section where the Farmer embarks upon a soliloquy, unavoidable questions arise from the link between Time and Ethics. Determinism emerges as a potential problem for human action, and comes from the idea of the First Cause in Aquinas.

The First Cause seems to dictate that nothing can exist outside of the chain of events decreed by the First Cause, whatever it is exactly.

The Farmer gives the metaphor of Man paddling on a great ocean with immaculate “free agency” but nevertheless, at the mercy of the waves.

In addition, the Farmer weighs the ideas of the Eternal Universe as First Cause, proposed by most Greek erudition as something without beginning, responding with the Question “What is Nature?”

This question possesses a few sub-questions underneath it in relation to the Greek argument, such as, “What things do we include as a part of Nature? Does one include the heavens, or merely things on earth?” The Farmer assumes the entire cosmos as being a part of Nature, and points out the problem of destruction, noting the destruction of stars, animals, humans, life in general, leaving the
question, “if the Cosmos is some great Eternal, why does it also fade and lose its splendor?”

Finally, the Farmer asserts a rule: There seems to be no system of thought in existence that does not assume the existence of something infinite, that same infinite, whether an equation, God, or Nature itself, being the First Cause; to sunder Man’s mind from this rule has often driven men to insanity and hindered the very senses and perceptions of Man from discerning anything worthwhile
in existence. At this point, the Farmer breaks the wall of reality once with the words: Witness Nietzsche.

In the end, the Preacher gives his final, simple response, the response of a man who realizes that the deepest things of reality are so wonderful and grand, defying all description. He acknowledges the problems mentioned by the Farmer, and advocates for something resembling the Words of the
Preacher in Ecclesiastes: “The end of the matter, Fear God and Keep His commandments, for such is all the duty of Man, and God will bring into judgement every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Thus, it is clear that only two of Aquinas’s five proofs were considered in any way, First Motion and First Cause, with both being viewed in relation to Time, but the nature of Aquinas work is so broad and expansive that to take even two of his proofs and consider them is a difficult endeavour.

Therefore, I beg the reader’s pardon if they found this treatment to be merely cursory.

Critical Thought:

Is your Time useful to you?