Intuition of the Instant

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French philosopher Gaston Bachelard (June 27, 1884–October 19, 1962) addressed this question with uncommon acuity of insight in Intuition of the Instant (public library) — a timelessly rewarding exploration of “the problems of duration and the instant, of habit and life.”

“Life cannot be understood in passive contemplation. Understanding life is more than just living it; it is indeed propelling it forward. Life does not flow along a slope on the axis of objective time that would serve as its channel. Although it may be a form imposed upon time’s successive instants, life always finds its primary reality in an instant. Hence, if we delve into the heart of psychological evidence, to the point where sensation is no more than the complex reflection or response of a simple act of volition — when intense attention concentrates life’s focus upon a single isolated element — then we will become aware that the instant is the truly specific character of time.”


Intuition of the Instant: French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard on Our Paradoxical Experience of Time

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