Husserl thus speaks almost exclusively of consciousness’ living-present, and he characterizes this life of consciousness with three distinguishable yet inseparable moments: primal impression, retention, and protention. This tripartite form or intentional structure of the living-present should not be thought of as discrete, independently occurring pieces in a process (or procession). Such an atomistic view of the living-present’s structure will not work. Were the moments of the living-present thought as such, we would have to remember or re-present each past state of consciousness. Not a knife-edged moment, Husserl describes the life of consciousness, the living-present, as extended like a comets tail, or saddle-back, to use the image William James preferred, moments comprising an identity in a manifold (James) (PCIT § 10).

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