Anderson’s analyses of the historical origin of national consciousness in chapter 2 and3 were of fundamental theoretical importance, for he provided the most significantand crucial social pre-conditions that made the imagination of nations possible; andfor the analyses greatly influenced multiple disciplines like sociology, cultural studiesand media studies in later investigation of nationalism.
Therefore, it is worthy tospend some spaces here for examining two theoretical as well as historical conceptsthat he posed in the analyses—i.e. modern conception of time and print-capitalism.Anderson borrowed two philosophical notions from a famous Marxist writer WalterBenjamin to distinguish medieval and modern time conception, which were”Messianic time” and “homogeneous, empty time” respectively.There was no clear-cut separation of past, present and future under medievalMessianic time because people in that era believed that they were always near to theend of time, namely, the time that Jesus Christ comes again.
However, in modernsociety, since people do not understand time by particular event or story like thecoming of Christ, implying empty of content in their conception, but by standardizedmeasurement like watch and calendar which led to homogeneous scale of time, theseparation become clear, and hence we always have a strong sense of “present” asopposed to “past” and “future.” This strong sense of present and standardized timemeasurement provided the basis of imagination that, someone are doing something insomewhere similar and simultaneous to me even though I cannot really see them. Theimagination of other (unknown) community members—which is necessary tonationalism—is thus possible, so that a German can have clear idea of what the otherGermans are doing, and how they look like simultaneously, even though he or she cannever meet all the people in Germany. However, it was print-capitalism starting from16th century in Europe that brought this imagination into existence in a national