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Edith Stein (2000:I §1) – corrente de consciência

segunda-feira 4 de março de 2024


A corrente original da consciência é um puro devir. A experiência flui. O que é novo toma o seu lugar numa linha de produção constante, sem que se possa perguntar "através de quê" o devir está a ser produzido (= originado). Em nenhum momento da corrente, a saída de uma fase de outra deve ser apreendida como um "ser efectuado". Uma flui para fora da outra e o "de onde" original fica na obscuridade. Como as fases fluem para uma só, não surge uma série de fases desconexas, mas apenas uma única corrente em constante expansão. Portanto, não faria sentido perguntar sobre uma "conexão" de fases. A ligação só é necessária com elos de uma cadeia, mas não com um continuum indivisível e indiviso.

Baseheart & Sawicki

The original current of consciousness is a pure becoming. Experiencing flows along. What’s new takes its place in a steady production line, without your being able to ask “through what” the becoming is being produced (= originated). At no point in the current is the going forth of one phase out of another to be apprehended as a “being effected.” One flows forth out of the other and the original “whence” lies in obscurity. Because the phases flow into one, no series of disjoint phases emerges, but just a single steadily expanding current. Therefore it wouldn’t make any sense to ask about a “connecting” of phases. Connecting is required only with links of a chain, but not   with one undivided and indivisible continuum.

Now how do you come to be talking about experiences “in” the current, and of a binding or connecting of those experiences? [1] Before we can get on with the answering of that question, we have to consider just a little more closely this peculiar formation, the continuous current, and the sort of becoming that is under discussion here. We don’t have a displacing of phases by each other, so that at any given time the old is fading away and sinking into nought with the becoming of the new. If that were the case, then we’d always have only one phase and no uniform current would develop. Yet neither is it so, that what’s being generated at any given time is becoming stiff and then lifeless as an enduring entity, persisting stiff and unchanged, while what’s new is coming to be and taking its own place (somewhat like production of a line). It’s neither of these; yet it’s both of these.

First of all, there is a “live” persisting of what’s “concluded” while what’s new is producing itself, so that one phase of the current contains alike what’s just becoming, and what’s already been but is still alive (what is being experienced as such, as still alive, thus what stands out, through an index of pastness, from what’s “now” entering into life). Coherent experiences form in this: that what’s ebbing away within experiencing, yet still alive, coalesces with what’s newly arising. One such coherent experience is concluded as soon as it doesn’t append any more new phases.

There is, then, a “dying” of what’s generated that is not a total submerging. What has ebbed away in its aliveness is past, but a more or less hollow consciousness of it stays behind. And because the ebbing experiencing remains preserved in such a modification and the new experiencing follows upon it, the unity of a current of experience develops: a constituted current, congruent with the current that was originally generating, lately constituting. This constituted current fills up phenomenological time, in which experience adjoins experience in a succession. But besides the “succession,” the “coincidence” in experiential time has to be considered. Every moment is complexly filled up. In the momentary phase, alongside what’s just entering into life and what’s still living, we have what’s extinct, what has died away.

As long as an experience is still alive and keeps on generating, new phases are continually being joined to it, although it might also be pushed into the background by another experience beginning later. In contrast to that, “being elapsed” means that the experience is concluded and no longer undergoes any further enrichment. But it’s certainly possible that, in the unity of one experience, elapsed phases may develop again through intervention of a live interval with new experience attaching itself. Thus a tone can keep on sounding when you’re only just vacantly conscious of the onset of the tone, but a tone that’s still alive must establish the continuity for lingering tones. As soon as no more new phases join in, the tone has died out

Finally, it’s possible that the tone’s corpse gets swallowed up and is left behind in the current. “It is left behind in the current” – therefore it hasn’t entirely become nothing, but still has a kind of existence. It sticks to its position in the constituted current, even while staying back behind the lively current. [2] And it retains the possibility of becoming “something referred back to” once again. (Even in such a referring back — in a “re-presentation” — it becomes conscious as persisting in the current after its demise.

[STEIN, Edith. Philosophy of psychology and the humanities. Tr. Mary Catharine Baseheart and Marianne Sawicki. Washington, D.C: ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2000]

Ver online : Edith Stein

[1Erlebnisse, “experiences,” are the concrete result of experiencing (Erleben). Both terms suggest something lived-through and registering inwardly as mattering to the experiencer, so to speak. They contrast with the term erfahren, which is translated in several ways: as the verb “to undergo,” as the noun “observation,” or even as the adjective “empirical” in some non-literal renderings. Erfahren suggests that something has been coolly encountered as a matter of fact external to oneself.

[2A military metaphor is invoked here. The sound is “fallen” (gebliebenes), then it is a casualty or corpse (das Tote), but even when dead it maintains its position (verharrt an senior Stelle). The classical allusion is to the inscription at Thermopylae, where the defenders are still in position in their graves. This allusion would have evoked an emotional response in readers just after the First World War.