"The veritable position of the I in time consists in interrupting time by punctuating it with beginnings" (Levinas, Totality, p. 143). What does the beginning begin from? Is there a time outside of beginnings that would allow for something coming before and after, or a beginning against which other beginnings could be measured? What would be the qualities of such a time outside of beginnings, a time from which beginnings could begin?
The primordial positivity of enjoyment, perfectly innocent, is opposed to nothing and in this sense suffices to itself from the first. An instant or standstill, it is the success of the carpe diem, the sovereignty of the "after us the deluge." These pretensions would be pure nonsense and not eternal temptation could not enjoyment tear itself absolutely from the disintegration characteristic of duration.
Would joyless time be recognizable as time itself, or would we have to arrive at a recognition of joyless time by a process of subtraction?
We have sought to elaborate the notion of enjoyment in which the I arises and pulsates: we have not determined the I be freedom. Freedom as the possibility of commencement, referring to happiness, to the marvel of the good time standing out from the continuity of the hours, is the production of the I and not one experience among others that "happens" to the I. Separation and atheism, these negative notions, are produced by positive events. To be I, atheist, at home with oneself, separated, happy, createdthese are synonyms.
How does one freely commence enjoying a time apart from the dreary blur of hours? Does one simply say "Let's enjoy ourselves?" Before we produce our freedom, as the possibility of commencement, mustn't we recognize our unfreedom (I'm not going there just yet), our being in the thrall of miseries or at the whim of passions? In what time does this recognition take place? The break from time, or the interruption of duration, appears then to have occurred prior to the onset of beginnings. This being prior bespeaks a felt time, or a response to temporal passions that may itself be passionately feltindeed if it does give rise to the production of enjoyment it would be passionately felt, though it may appear as passionately felt only after the fact of an enjoyment, or, rather more precisely, a commencement which signifies enjoyment. Commencement would then be prior in its appearance to the ego, the nexus of feeling, prior even to time, which, if it is constituted by the feeling subject, is constituted only after the fact of its being felt, and perhaps also then after its quality of feeling had being signified, even meontically. Hmm.