The word “absolute” seems less normative than “ideal,” but there’s some overlap between them, since an absolute is thought to be complete, which is ambiguous between normality and normativity. If you finish running a race, you’re at the absolute end in a physical, non-evaluative sense, but finishing the race is also assumed to be good and worth doing, so the completeness has a value attached to it.

I see the difference between the homunculus of consciousness and particular experiences, but I don’t see how the experiences, like the pages of a book, come from the future. The pages are made in the past, of course. When you say, “They are first in the future, then in the past,” I think you just mean that they’re first unexperienced, then they become memories and are thus experienced as being in the past.

As for the homunculus itself, it’s typically described as being equivalent to the present moment and thus as not experiencing the passage of time. That is, the flow of time is explained phenomenologically by positing a focal point of consciousness that’s like the reader of a book. That conscious “reader” of perceptions is the fleeting sense of being in the present. To the extent that consciousness goes past to future, so does everything else, physically speaking. Still, consciousness is aware of both its memories and its plans for and expectations of the future.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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