The Phenomena of Time Consciousness


Hardial Bains (Circa 1967)

The commitment of Socratic life is the individual acts on what he knows, today he goes into the future with the full conviction of his knowledge. He only goes into the future if he acts on this conviction. Time is expressed in terms of development, and is thus a non-entity. The individual goes forward in time when he develops: this development cannot be expressed in terms of clock time, bit it is the only concept that is meaningful to us.

In Hinduism, time is a cycle of regenerations, which men cannot combat, but only live. The theory of Karma states that there is no going back, no going forward, Man secures his existence in time by correcting himself.

Budha conceived time as being the consciousness of objects. If a man wants a timeless unobjectified existence, he must remove time consciousness and interest in material existence in the world.

In Europe, time has been defined in terms of relapse of memory, and then existence in terms of time. I exist because I existed before in some previous moment and aware of the passage of time through comparison of this moment with other points in my existence. All points will appear to me with a different intensity of memory, due to their different place on time. Through the perception of time I am convinced of my existence while I am aware of my existence through a perpetual re-examination of that conviction. The mechanism through which these phenomena come to me give me time consciousness, so time proves ots own existence.

External Time Consciousness

This perception of the passage of time through awareness of objects (receding in memory) is external time consciousness.It is consciousness that comes from the individual who experiences the consciousness. External time consciousness is evident in our idea of historical development and tradition. We behave in a traditional way because we say that traditional behaviour must, per say be good behaviour – how else could it have survived so long? Our historical development presents us with a survival of traditions. Since these are, by definition, good, the more we behave in a traditional way, the more nearly we shall attain a “perfect state”. This is obviously a circular argument, and any system so defined   will be incapable of development.Our lives depend on development, and so as soon as we consider ourselves as developing beings, we see this form of consciousness as being inadequate. it is again, indulgence in a perfectly designed existence which, by definition, is nothing else but non-developmental. The position is rationalised by those in this state of consciousness by a declared trust in what the future will bring, while retaining traditional behaviour, the nature of which excludes the assimilation of anything the future does bring. The exact form of the rationalisation is that external time consciousness is told by memory of the existence of a perfect state some time in the immediate past. External time consciousness is in charge is in charge of the individual, and he therefore acts in such a way as to re-create that perfect state.

The Being – In the World

These beliefs have a disturbing effect on the person who lives them. His external behaviour is traditional. The entire behaviour of his society is traditional. His existence is thus defined – any existence whose reflection leads to traditional behaviour. This is the greatest personal contradiction one can have. Existence is itself reflection, a reflection of the individual’s development as he lives in the world – the being – in the world. It is in a state of change. Existence is dynamic. But traditional behaviour is static.The individual forces himself to live in a static situation.To achieve this he has to create a new self. This created self has no relevance to the real self, but takes precedence over the real self in its demands. It takes precedence since its demands are easier to fulfill (this is the implicit message one receives when one is pressured not to be alive to the contradictory situations) than the demands of the real self will be perpetually in conflict with the status quo since the real self remains loyal to the reality, and is always in a state of change. the status quo creates the created self, which in turn becomes the reflection of the status quo, and is never in conflict with its progenitor, so long as it is a “successful” created self. The apparent difference between the real and the created self is always that the created self needs to be temporally ‘successful’, while the real self needs nothing for its manifestations. Whenever an individual is deliberately seeking absolute success, he is catering to the created self and is not alive to the real self.In fact, he transcends his being-in the-world into the objects and oppresses his real self. This builds up pressure in the consciousness, and the created self will be more difficult to satisfy the next time it is catered to. Pressure comes through the mental division the individual must achieve to create a new self in the first place.

The Real Self

The real self is described as emotional, and society tells the individual that he must not be emotional. Sensible people in society follow the path of analysis, even if the analysis tells them that they themselves must have no existence. Each time the created self is pandered, it demands in return more of the person’s existence. This puts more pressure on the real self, increasing the gap between the emotionality of the human condition and the inanimation of the created objectivity, which in turn causes anguish. Pandering the created self is pleasurable, also it is used as an antidote to this anguish, even though it was the pandering that caused the anguish in the first place. More and more pressure is built up, until the individual implodes in existence. If he dies mentally, he has argued himself out of existence,and so it troubles him no more. He is completely taken over by his externally time conscious, created self. He is a totally static person, beautifully moulded to a particular situation. When the situation changes (and the absurdity of our reality is that changes do occur) this person has no possibility of changing with it, and so has no relevance to life anymore. He will be a dead weight, resisting change and harking back to his memorised perfect state, a state which he is convinced he and society achieved at a moment in time.

External Time Consciousness

External time consciousness is therefore a variation of Descates’ tautology – I am Conscious because I am myself.I am Conscious because of the passage of time is the same statement. Both define existence itself. It is our experience that we do not operate in terms of a defined existence.The consciousness that a reflection of our existence may be called Internal Time Consciousness.When we are living (revealing) we are responding to an internal (non-created) consciousness. It has no definite relationship to time, other than that it is not finite, and only exists within the frame-work of our existence. On examination, it is found not to exist, because no quality can be attached to it – it is a reflection of being. It cannot be embodied in any object. When an attempt is made to do so, external time consciousness is brought forward, and the individual becomes concerned to preserve his ontological self, which he can see slipping away into memory. Things created in memory relapse as time passes, and therefore away into memory. Things created in memory relapse as time passes, and therefore the created self will become progressively less adept in its function, which is to allay the passage, to hold up the world and enable the individual to re-create for himself a perfect state. Its definition and function are in contradiction.

Events in the world, or objects in the world does affect whether internal time consciousness is in operation or not. But once internal time consciousness is in operation, it cannot be affected by any such object qualitatively. Thus, if I go to my office to work, my lateness or earliness at the office will not control the quality of my work. If I am an internally consciousness person. But if I am externally time consciousness, this and many other factors will control the quality of my work.

To be Emotional is to be Less Sensible

We can see the created self being formed whenever external (minute to minute) time consciousness impinges onto conscious (developmental or revealing) activity. The individual still claims he is ‘following his own mind’, and gives as examples of his response to internal demands the very occasions when he has entered to his objectified consciousness. Any demands that cannot be satisfied within his existing behaviour are said to be ’emotional’, and society says that sensible people do not behave ’emotionally’. So any overt failure to satisfy internal demands can be rationalised by saying that men have an emotional core whose demands must be analysed before they are passed on to the practical operational being. This pragmatic being sees what is sensible to do by looking at the condition of the environment, i.e. the amount of opposition likely to be encountered if the emotional demand is satisfied. the more real the demand, the more it will go against status quo, and therefore the less sensible it will be.

Corporate Sensate Culture

A whole society – a corporate sensate culture – has been built on the basis of this separateness. The best example is on the West Coast of America, in California. The corporate, sensate culture contains objects, and the purpose of existence within this culture is to pursue these objects.If the prevailing objects are not caught and some more are not found to chase, existence cannot go on. So the individual’s existential satisfaction depends on such objects. The child has a problem. He cries. His crying is resolved by a toy, The youth has a problem. His problem is solved by a Cadillac. He then has to worry what to do with his Cadillac. The thrill lies in to drive the Cadillac to its maximum capacity – as fast as possible, in turn, the sex neurosis is solved by getting married or by going nymphomaniac. The problems of married life are solved by having the right kind of house. The chance of the marriage being successful depends on the maintenance of a certain degree of prosperity in that house. So to love his wife, the inhabitant of the corporate, sensate culture needs kitchen gadgets, a complicated panorama of simple furnishings, a new car every year and friends with who he can hold parties at which he can drink a certain amount of varied alcoholic beverages. He expresses his emotionality through these material frameworks.


If a man is in ‘love’, he sends flowers to his girl-friend (or wife), in fact, if he fails to send flowers, his beloved will assume he is not in love; she knows that men who are in love do send flowers, and she deduces that those who do not send flowers are not in love. Love is firstly defined as having a quality that is measurable, and then declared to have no existence beyond the measurable quantity. ‘If you really love me, do X, Y and Z’.

Married to Objects

The married couple have children, and the children develop their own problems. Eventually these have to be combated by the whole family going to psychiatrists. The psychiatrist tries to resolve their problems by showing them specifically which problems depend on which objects. He then assures them that when the object situation is righted, their problems will go away.But they have their problems because their consciousness depends on objects, not because their consciousness has been supplied with wrong kinds of objects. All objects become wrong after a time: the person develops away from them. All he can do to counter the situation is to suppress personal development by the sheer speed of the turnover of the objects. This is the search for pure excitement = kicks, drinks, drugs, sex. The divorce from reality is complete. Any impingement of reality on to the created existence causes pure misery when the created existence is pure excitement.


This is the state called schizophrenia. The personality is completely divided, and the being operates in the world on two different codes – the ideal theoretical (used for trivia), and the practical everyday (used for important matters). The schizophrenia has to be most in ‘politicians’, and ‘academics’. since these are the people best placed (or by definition ought to) to see what is happening in the society.They, invariably, say that it is no business of theirs to pass judgement on what occurs in the society (as long as their own temporal positions are safe). Even if it is something that arises as a direct result of their work, it is ‘unprofessional’ for them to comment. They are just simple people who do what society requires of them. society requires them to do their job, but that job must be in line with the advocates or the controllers of the society. So everybody does the job. Caring not whether the job is in the production of biological warfare material or bombardment of a tiny village in the east. He knows that he is being asked to do a job and the demand of the society, by definition, is a sensible one. He has the choice of confronting the society (corporate elite) on this issue or complying with the demand. If he is externally time conscious, he will comply (depending on what objects he obtains for himself), since he feels his existence depends on the things society gives him – all the objects – and he cannot imagine himself without these things. The pressure such mental gymnastics puts on the personality is reflected by the high suicide and insanity rate amongst ‘socially bound’ politicians and academicians.


Sooner or later anybody caught up in this social behaviour will have to face the final problem – death. He is dying. His life is composed solely of objects, and thus death comes as an objective horror. He finds no objects that can solve the problem of his biological decay. He wakes up one morning and finds that he has not in actuality, lived. He had always thought that the response to any event could be in terms of objects – buy another car, take a different pill, get drunk, go on ‘pie-in -the-sky’ trips. This is the only means of expression he had used since he was a child, and there were not other ways, he says, available in society.His perception of biological decay is produced by his frantic existence, and his immediate response to that perception is to become more frantic, so bringing the fact of death even closer.


There is no turning back in existence. The only escape is to break the cycle and reveal internally the consciousness of being. Conscious activity controls object-being in the internally time consciousness person.An externally conscious person sees the irrelevance of his ‘developmental or revealing’ activity because it impinges on his external time conscious self – his created self. When the reality comes face to face, the created self becomes frantic, so losing the ability to lie convincingly to itself. The repressed self (revealing or developmental or real self) is liberated at last. As a result the created self collapses, and the person is drowned in the vision of his own nothingness.


It is concluded that one must deny oneself the luxury of memory-relapsing-systems. The premise of Buddha is also denied, since our existential state cannot be divorced (is not divorced) from the world out there. Nothing is gained by by affecting this divorce, since we are the world-out-there. Nothing is gained by affecting this divorce, since we are the world in which we reflect our existence. The distinction being that the externally time conscious man is tied down to his objects, while the man operating in internal time consciousness is liberated from them.

What our society has done in Europe, and what European society has done most effectively in America, is to divorce consciousness and activity.External time consciousness destroys the individual and the society. It is the individuals responsibility to himself to destroy the created self and to save himself.Created self can only be destroyed if the individual operates fully in his situations on his situations., and not because of his situations.

“What I like most about madness is that it has protected me from the very beginning against the charms of the ‘elite’: never have I thought that I was the possessor of a ‘talent’; my sole concern has been been to save myself – nothing in my hands, nothing up my sleeve – by work and faith. As a result, my pure choice did not raise me above anyone. Without equipment, without tools, I set all of me to work in order to save all of me. If I regulate impossible salvation to the prop room, what remains? A whole man, composed of all men and as good as all of them and no better than any. ” (J.P.Sartre in The Words)


 (A publication of the Internationalists)






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