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Our performance and spontaniety

The present, as we know, has a lifetime; i.e., it endures for a length of time which we call durational distance. It follows that, if the present exists now, it must have existed earlier - which presents problems for the spontaneity of the performer. It is noticeable that each mental state includes an awareness or ‘memory’ of the mental states which precede it. As a result, we experience mental life as a coherent succession of mental states. An ‘objective’ present is, by definition, not consciousness; since it is not consciousness, it obviously cannot qualify as ‘the present.’ If the present is conscious experience the ‘universal present’ becomes a superfluous concept: we cannot accommodate its existence.

We might conjecture that some sort of universal present exists in addition to the many subjective presents which exist, (i.e., in addition to the many individual minds that exist). However, there is nothing to suggest that any sort of objective present exists. In the absence of such a present, events in one person’s consciousness, i.e., events in one person’s mental life, cannot be coordinated with events in another person’s consciousness.

The above is an Extract from Peter Cheevers' PhD

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