space and time

Imagine that you have just now started to look at the world.


One of the first things that you notice is space. There is you and an outside world that you can see, and you can see more than one thing. What separates you and what you can see, and what separates the different things that you see, is space in its most immediate definition.

Then you also quickly notice that some things move and others do not. This is time, again in its most immediate definition, as motion or being at rest.


Things can rest or move outside and inside the mind. Thus there are a priori 4 different kinds of things: What moves outside, what rests outside, what moves inside, and what rests inside. Let me call them elements and give them the following names: emo, ero, emi and eri.

emo moves outside
ero rests outside
emi moves inside
eri rests inside


Some literature quotes, ideas and different points of view.
  • Immanuel Kant. The Critique of Pure Reason. 1787.
    In the early chapters, Kant discloses that some observable things cannot be isolated from the self, but instead appear to be themselves a priori necessary for thinking and observation. These a priori concepts include space and time in their immediate sense - the structure in which things appear in the mind and seem to exist outside of it.
  • "By means of the external sense (a property of the mind), we represent to ourselves objects as without us, and these all in space. Herein alone are their shape, dimensions, and relations to each other determined or determinable. [...] Space is not a conception which has been derived from outward experiences. For, in order that certain sensations may relate to something without me (that is, to something which occupies a different part of space from that in which I am); in like manner, in order that I may represent them not merely as without, of, and near to each other, but also in separate places, the representation of space must already exist as a foundation. [...] We never can imagine or make a representation to ourselves of the non-existence of space, though we may easily enough think that no objects are found in it." (translated by J. Meiklejohn)
  • "Time is not an empirical conception. For neither coexistence nor succession would be perceived by us, if the representation of time did not exist as a foundation a priori. [...] With regard to phenomena in general, we cannot think away time from them, and represent them to ourselves as out of and unconnected with time, but we can quite well represent to ourselves time void of phenomena."
  • If I can imagine something, is it then really inside of me ? Isn't there already a separation (space) between me and what I imagine ? Such an extreme definition of self or inside would mean that the self cannot have any attributes, no memory etc., because any attribute of the self would be something that can be considered by the self and would thus, by definition, not be part of the self...
  • This definition of self  reminds of the Tao  (way) in Taoism. Lao Tzu starts the Tao Te Ching with "The Tao that can be spoken, is not the real (unchanging) Tao".
  • Would a female observer also consider what is seen as not being part of herself or would she rather tend to identify with what she sees ? In other words, is the distinction between in and out hard or soft (gradual) ?
  • What about sleep and dreaming, why only have a fully conscious observer ?
© 2002-now Alain Stalder