and is, and yet. instantaneously is not

RajuMV

Senior Member
Malayalam
Friends, here is another sentence from the book, The Discovery of India written by Jawaharlal Nehru:
Aurobindo Ghose writes somewhere of the present as ' the pure and virgin moment,' that razor's edege of time and existence which divides the past from the future, and is, and yet, instantaneously is not.

I want to know what is the meaning of the sentence, especially, the portion in red. Please clarify

Thanks a lot in anticipation:)
 
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  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hmm, interesting. I understand this as a comment on the way time flies. The present is - it is now with us and we exist in it. Yet, the next instant what was present a split second ago has already become past and we live in another present for another short instant - hence 'instantaneously'.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The present (now) separates the past from the future. Everything before now is the past, everything after now is the future. The present is new and untouched (pure and virginal) - no one used this "now" before you did. The present is very tiny like the edge of a razor. The present that is "now" becomes part the past immediately, in an instant. Any particular "now" is no longer "now" faster than you can think about it. If you say "this is now," "this" is already in the past before you even start to say "is".
     

    RajuMV

    Senior Member
    Malayalam
    Thanks Myridon. My doubt is can we rewrite it as, Aurobindo Ghose writes of the present as 'the pure and virgin moment' and as is, and yet, as instantaneously is not?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks Myridon. My doubt is can we rewrite it as, Aurobindo Ghose writes of the present as 'the pure and virgin moment' and as is, and yet, as instantaneously is not?
    No. "which divides... and is and yet is not ..." It divides and it exists and instantaneously it does not exist.
    "which" is the subject of "is" so you can hardly leave that whole section out.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Hi, Myridon, you say we can use 'is' instead of exists?
    "Is" is the 3rd person singular present tense of "to be." From the Word Reference dictionary on "be":
    1 to have presence in the realm of perceived reality; exist; live: I think, therefore I am, not all that is can be understood
     

    Ёж!

    Senior Member
    Русский
    Hi,

    In the WordReference dictionary, the word 'instant' is defined as 'a very brief time', and the word 'instantaneously' is defined as 'occurring with almost no delay'. That is, these words imply some very little delay and some very brief time. Could Nehru's sentence mean that the present exists in some way, but it does not exist as an instant, that is, it cannot have any, no matter how little, duration?
     

    RajuMV

    Senior Member
    Malayalam
    Hi, Ёж!, I think in a very brief time, the razor's edge of time and existence become non-existent in the present, that is, it becomes past
     
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