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¡®The First Time¡¯¡­ (is always retrospective¡­/ Repetition Redux)                   



The first time, the second time¡­ and all the other times. But it (the first time) is only the first time from the point of view of the second time (more concretely, of someone experiencing ¡®the second time¡¯), before this it is a singularity, perhaps unnoticed, or a part of another series, set or process¡­ ¡®It¡¯ is only ¡®the first time¡¯ after repetition, in memory, when we have moved on¡­ In fact, only after the second time can we have a ¡®first time¡¯ (and then on, through-out each subsequent repetition¡­). So only in retrospect is ¡®it¡¯, the ¡¯first¡¯ time.


Unless ¡®it¡¯ is posited as such in advance, expected, desired, predefined as such¡­ but this is another story. A pre-imagined, sought for, manufactured ¡®first time¡¯.


Otherwise it would be the end, or, better, mid-point, in an infinite series, designated ¡®first¡¯ only due to similarities felt to single it out as the beginning of a new series or process of repetition. As the invisible event, brought back to life, back to memory, rescued for significance, by the prompting of the ¡®second¡¯ time, only ¡®there¡¯ by a posited resemblance with the second event.


A first time£¨¡¯the¡¯ first time£©only after the second time.


So, no first time, only posthumously reconstructed affinity, resemblance, repetition, or mimesis, (in fact ¡®reverse mimesis¡¯, as a feature of detail is sought or to be prompted as the common element in the two events, suggesting their similitude, a double synecdoche, or double part/whole relation (such as suggested as a theory for metaphor by the Liege group). And, in fact, we have created a metaphor, but not out of the first, but out of the second; similitude requires two, recognition is based on pairs, of the past, at least, of a prior element, remembered, compared, a ¡®remembrance of things past¡­¡¯; a retrospective connection (as in Husserl¡¯s construction of a melody as allegory of experience and perception). But metaphor goes further: when disturbed by a word that does not fit, we look for figurative meaning, and find it, the extra, or ¡®second meaning¡¯ (Greimas) comes¡­ Second, we posit it as the ¡®original¡¯, or right, intended meaning, but in reality, that is in time, we have found it, it comes after, it is second. So Greimas¡¯ description is accurate (as well as simplest and tidiest way of classifying metaphor, or other tropes), linguistically, semiotically, and also phenomenologically, from the point of view of experience: of how it actually happens. And a timely reminder that all positing of similitude is metaphoric, or better, creative, ¡®allegorical¡¯, in the sense of found, or even forced, resemblance¡­ Derrida¡¯s critique of Husserl is after all, based upon the impossibility of forgetting the past of the present; our past as constituting this present; our ¡®eternal present¡¯¡­ On the first time as previous time; and we are all full of previous times¡­ Our prior plenitude of comparative possibility.


As well as figurative, or second meaning, where we find the original is in fact second, so also in logic and number theory in terms of the sense of ¡®one¡¯ we immediately transgress an axiom on metasets: for there to be one there must ¡®another one¡¯ outside to see it all, the Gods eye-view, and then so on to infinity¡­ as each stage demands a new viewer, realizing the ¡®whole¡¯, the ¡®one¡¯; so we cannot count from one, experientially speaking, but from 0 to 2 then 3 (as the entities involved in our experiential calculus, first the self as 0, the ¡®eternal present¡¯, final meta-frame of all experience, then 2 the addition of past and future (and the presence of others), then 3, with a positing of a parallel eternal realm, ¡®eternity¡¯ (the Other of sublime experience) fictional, or better imaginary (it only happens in our heads) but most useful for keeping, gods, immortals, universals and axioms, etc., laws, etc., outside of, or beyond history or time, so beyond change¡­ beyond question¡­). (**in terms of a theory of number based upon the experiential calculus, this (counting) can be founded by *** check logic book**). Otherwise, no one. Again no actual one¡­ ) . No first one.


One only from two.


¡®In medias res¡¯, or the lived, actually experienced, the human condition would seem to militate against the sense of a one, but, as with so many things, we seem to need it as a starting point. Logic/number, metaphor/figure and the sense of a beginning, entailing a repetition and priority, all seem to depend upon a myth, a fiction, albeit deemed, ¡®necessary¡¯. (a bit like, universals, ¡®All¡¯, axioms, the heavens and eternity, or absolute outside¡­ which the prior terms all require as the ¡®place¡¯ for their existence, this is if they are not ¡®in fact¡¯ synonyms¡­)


Not for the ¡®first time¡¯ has our human being in time, time as presented by our brains, that is, human temporality, contributed to the continuance of contradictions in matters of priority, ordinality and origin - despite the logicians¡¯ best efforts¡­


Only an anticipated event that has not yet occurred can be ¡®the first time¡¯ (itself awaiting the second time to be recognized as the first of a series¡­). Both these then are built on expectations, on the future (¡®it will be the first time¡¯). As opposed to the past as in the recognition that something ¡®was (sic) the first time¡¯. Otherwise it remains the ¡®one and only¡¯ time, or an event unique without precedent or sequel (at least from the point of view of its narrow genre of classification¡­ say, the only visit to X, or the only visit anywhere¡­ as opposed to visits as such, where there may be many¡­).


The second time¡­ is repetition; is memory, is ritual. The basis of individual identity and (self) recognition, and of collective belonging and social life¡­






Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2020