Augustine indicates this harmonious movement with the verb tendo . However, when all three of the present intentions are taken into account, the mind is strained in three different directions at once. The verb distendo refers to this disharmonious movement. Memory stretches itself out to all the impressions that refer back to the past: the traces. Similarly, expectation reaches towards all the impression that point toward the future: the signs. The attention, finally, is extended over the region between what has just happened and what is about to happen. Its activity makes it possible to carry the future over to the past. As such, the attention links the already existing signs of the future to the newly emerging traces of the past in which it is transformed. The fragmentation of the activity of the mind in three present intentions, all of which are simultaneously at work, makes it possible to distinguish a threefold present. This threefold present is not only linked to the activity of the mind, but also to the passivity of the impressions, which are engendered by it. As Ricoeur writes, “We must say that the three temporal intentions are separate from one another to the extent that intentional activity has as its counterpart the passivity engendered by this very activity…” 49 The threefold present that Augustine seeks to define can now be understood as a triple tension: (1) a horizontal tension between passivity and activity that takes place on a horizontal level; (2) a vertical tension between the three present intentions that divides the activity of the mind; (3) a vertical tension between the three types of passivity on which the three present intentions focus their activity. The notion ‘the threefold present’ is determined by each of these three tensions without resolving any of them. Passivity of the impressions Activity of the mind Present signs of the future Expectation as present intention Indivisible instant Attention as present intention Present traces of the past Memory as present intention Temporal vocabulary The threefold present This indicates that, as seen from Ricoeur’s perspective, Augustine has opened up a zone of mutuality. This zone of mutuality suggests the possibility of a new semantic and referential field, the implications of which are only partly grasped on a conceptual level. In Ricoeur’s view, Augustine’s invention needs to be supplemented with other inventions, each of which enriches our understanding of time. Accordingly, Ricoeur sees it as his task to develop the temporal terminology in a more systematic and analytic manner. He does so by linking Augustine’s metaphoric discourse to a series of other metaphoric discourses 49 TR1 , 40/21.
3. T HE T HREEFOLD P RESENT | 125 on time. He divides these discourses into two groups. One group, which includes Augustine, Husserl, and a part of Heidegger’s oeuvre, advances a conception of time in which the phenomenological dimension of time is highlighted at the expense of its cosmological dimension. Another group, which includes Aristotle, Kant, and a different
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