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The transition between the thought of one object and the thought of another is no more a break in the thought than a joint in a bamboo is a break in the wood. It is a part of the consciousness as much as the joint is a part of the bamboo. This metaphor has frequently been misinterpreted.
In other words, there is no instantaneous immobility, no static places of rest. Only transition is real. Reality is continuous and indivisible change. It is but an endless repetition of the same mathematical element.
The Bergsonian continuous flux is a dynamic continuity; also, the heterogeneity of duration is the true character of reality. Different states of consciousness succeed one another introducing thereby novelty in this continuity. Hence, there are no two identical states of consciousness; they always differ even when they exhibit a close resemblance. For duration carries novelty within itself.
At the same time as it presents us with things and facts it shows us relationships between the things and connections between the facts: these relations are as real, as directly observable, according to William James, as the things and facts themselves. But the relations are fluctuating and the things fluid. This is vastly different from that dry universe constructed by the philosophers with elements that are clear-cut and well-arranged, where each part is not only linked to another part, as experience shows us, but also, as our reason would have it, is coordinated to the whole.
Process philosophers have developed distinctive epochal theories of time. William James argued that the stream of our experience comes in discrete durational units.
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However, all three conceptions of consciousness and temporality are quite close. He is often misinterpreted and his continuity is taken for an undifferentiated flow that unravels in ceaseless glide. However, the Bergsonian flow is multifarious and does not preclude an abundant diversity of states of consciousness. As the flow unravels, it carries all the indestructible past that is present to the novel present that unrolls.
The ontological past allows for the emergence of novelty; the emergence of novelty is only possible because temporality is duration. Different states of consciousness endure in such a way that their particular way of enduring characterises and differentiates them absolutely. They draw on the indestructible past for their coming into being; and the ontological past necessitates the emergence of the novel for it reinvents itself as the flow of consciousness is enriched by the novel states of consciousness.
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This heterogeneous flow is thus epochal; different states of consciousness are identifiable although they are not clear-cut and separate. Inseparability and heterogeneity thus describe epochal time. He is also often misinterpreted. This is often a point where some commentators grossly misinterpret Whiteheadian philosophy.
They confuse the atomicity of becoming with clear-cut fixity, the indivisibility of becoming with the subsequent coordinate analysis of the actual entity that has attained satisfaction, i. Their atomic character lies in their individualisation and their indivisibility. Each entity is said to be an epochal duration for it is temporal and individualised. This means that the past is immortal and forever irrevocable.
It will be the data for future actual entities, i. Prehension is appropriation.
Cézanne and Time (Takanori Nagaï)
Novel actual entities appropriate the past so that they can become into a totally novel synthesis. The past is constitutive of novel entities and thus reveals its ontological nature. It conditions them although it does not determine them in an absolute way. This new concept of temporality greatly diverges from the traditional notion of time that seems to originate from Saint Augustine.
But if I have not yet succeeded in this, I still know that wherever they are, they are not there as future or past, but as present. Also, the present seems to have a certain thickness because, in a certain sense, it coexists with the past and tends to already include an expectant future. He is mainly concerned with time, change and discontinuity. One could say this is the founding inquiry concerning the epochal theory of time.
Indeed the inquiry about continuity and discontinuity is an ever-present question in almost all philosophies of process. These novel additions to reality are finite and indivisible. However, due to the excessive intellectualism of our ways of thinking, we tend to consider that novel additions to reality are a set of infinite, innumerable steps, which can always be divided into ever-smaller units. We either have an experience that is whole and given by a single action, or we have no experience at all.
Jamesian atomism as well as Whiteheadian atomism should not be misunderstood. The units that compose reality are atomic because they are undivided and individualized.
The discrete constitution of reality does not allow for divisibility ad infinitum. Atoms are undivided and indivisible wholes; also, they are complex syntheses. Zeno, the Eleatic was the first to formulate the question of divisibility ad infinitum. He was primarily concerned with showing that motion did not really exist. According to Zeno, Achilles never manages to overtake the tortoise because he must occupy all the successive points where the tortoise has been positioned.
So Achilles, in order to catch the tortoise, would have to do the incredible thing of reaching the end of an endless series. The mathematical continuum can be infinitely divided.