Now that’s the hard part. Let us try talking about
, how the word is ordinarily used --and, in that way, get an idea of how it enters our everyday discourse . We can then look at how ithas become adapted conceptually by our perceptions and beliefs, personal and institutional.
: You mean what kinds of time there are?
: Yes, just to enumerate some types of time or to categories the uses we make of the word ishelpful. At least this will do to begin with.
: How does a personal belief differ from an institutional one?
: Later. Let’s stay with ‘
: Well, there is Past, Present and Future Time.
: Are these the same as Chronology?
: Only if you want them to be chronological.
How did you mean them to be understood?
: I meant them to mean the existence of tenses. Remember there are several other tenses, perfect, pluperfect, as well as moods etc.. But , at the risk of showing my Latinate education, I donot want to get into either a grammatical or a philological or a Wittgensteinian argument aboutthese highly significant grammatical things or a Heidigarian argument as to the origins of words. Iam merely saying that the existence of a Past, a Present and a Future tense is no more and no lessthan their existence as conceived by me. Indeed, if ordinary people cannot grasp these tenses aschronology, then I suspect they are in deep mental trouble. Chronology is for me the temporalconstruction of past events . Chronology is my construction of past events, so that those eventsconform objectively to when (rather than how or why) they occurred in the past. Indeed,chronology has the added advantage of being capable of being tested and verified by others.
: But you will admit that these days common parlance hones in on the present tense, theimmediate past and the immediate future?
: As used in everyday speech, I am inclined to agree. We speak simply of ‘I will’; ‘no; I won’t’,see you tomorrow’ , ‘would you like a curry this evening?’, etc.. We have a consumption-orientedlanguage that works in a clockwork present. We have no need any more for all those convolutedsentences and moods, such as, “ I should have had some Gateau this morning’ but ‘Had you brought your son to dinner, I might have had the opportunity of making Indian curry.’ The’might-have-had’ or ‘could-have-been’ - constructions are hard to come by. In the present climate, there isa predilection to avoid such constructions.
: Why do you think that is?
: Because, as I said, these days we are drawn to a simpler consumer-oriented mood in whichlife is more than ever comfortable while living in a ‘constant present’.