It is interesting indeed! But I am not sure I can give
a satisfying answer to this question (that's why I
called it a "trouble" :) I'll try to give some
thoughts on it though.
Peter said that the poem "shows time becoming an art
form, contained by a frame of consciousness", while,
on the other hand, I had a thought of the poem
speaking about being captured in time. Now, it seems
to me these two aspects of the very complicated
relation between time and consciousness come out of
the dialectic they constitute. One one hand, when we
think about time, when we try to define it, place it
(in Kantian terms) among the forms of our intuition,
time is considered to be a notion within the borders
of our mind. Hence (maybe), "For I have known them all
already, known them all: Have known the evenings,
mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with
coffee spoons". (ok, I don't want to say these lines
mean exactly that what I wrote about time, but this
thought of *knowing* time, being familiar with it - is
contained here, and so somehow related to what I've
just said).
On the other hand, time keeps on being something over
and above our finite cognition (In a minute there is
time For decisions and revisions which a minute will
reverse... And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so
peacefully! Smoothed by long fingers, Asleep . . .
tired . . . or it malingers, Stretched on the floor,
here beside you and me). As a result, the 'real' self
must exist only out of time, above this dialectics... 
It seems now as if there'd be a lot of Kantian
thoughts in Eliot's poems, but who knows, maybe there
is something to that... For instance, Kant speaks of
transcendental self that is different from an
empirical self (= perceived through our 'inner'
intuition - time), and not only different:
transcendental self is the final (logical) subject of
our (finite) cognition, which (the self) we cannot
have a cognition of, but which we must presuppose in
order to understand our finiteness.
But maybe I'm reading these thoughts in Eliot's
writings, I don't know his poetry well, and I come
more from the philosophical background, so maybe you,
people, can tell me if this makes any sense at all...



--- Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dunja Seselja wrote:
> > 
> > Very well said. And that's the point where the
> whole
> > trouble begins - dialectic of time and
> consciousness.
> This sounds interesting, but I would like to see it
> expanded. (I take
> dialectic to mean that relations at issue are
> internal rather than
> external.) I suppose consciousness could be defined
> as recognition that
> 'the self' exists only in its temporal relations.
> That would not, of
> course, suit the later Eliot (of the 4Q) at least,
> since those poems
> imply that the 'real' self exists only _out of
> time_, hence the search
> for the intersection of time and eternity and the
> obesession with the
> Incarnation.
> More?
> Carrol
> > 
> > What do you think, why is the poem called "the
> love
> > song of j. a. prufrock"? what sort of love is
> that?
> > and does  it at all matter...?
> > 
> > Dunja

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