I’ve thought about the nature of time, a lot, a hell of a lot, from quite a young age. And I can’t say that I’ve ever fathomed its theory.
I spent a lot of my younger years living in either the past or the future; thinking of either the past or the future. Never, really, could I just sit back and enjoy the world around me. I filtered it all through a tainted lens, relative to my chimerical prophecies, of which there were many, or to events that had already transpired.
Because my imagination was set on super speed, I saw my self caught up in the past’s web, reliving scenarios in a multitude of different ways; I found myself pondering certain events not yet come, and of the various potentiates that might result from them; I projected futures that existed beyond the future, foreseeing not just the step ahead, but the bed upon which I would draw my final breath, as a decrepit, old, white bearded man.
The present, however we are to construe the term, was not a sphere I oft occupied.
Until one day, I came to a very interesting conclusion.
Amidst the bouncing back and forth between past and future, amidst the reveries binding me to their fiction, an idea sprung to the surface of my consciousness, shouting:
Hang on a second, mate. Neither the future, nor the past, exists. And what else, they’re both the same thing.
Now, when the first insight dawned over me, I remember thinking, Fair enough. They don’t exist, really. Except inside of my head. The past Did exist, but now its existence lies in memories, in books, in movies, and in songs. Okay, cool. But what? You’re saying they’re the same thing? Hang on there, mate. Hang on.
But the more I thought about this random fleck of meaningless mind work, the more it made sense. The further I’d unroll this train of analysis, the more lucid its shine.
I’ll do my best to briefly explain why that is.
Okay, so, the future, however it is thought of, however it is projected, however sculpted, can only be understood by looking into the past, through the past; then, at this past point, it can be built upon the past’s shoulders, from its body.
There is no conceivable future that can be formed without the past’s playground.
Sure, when we gaze into our collective’s already told tales, and then contrive some sort of hypothesis based upon them, we’re not merely replicating history’s landscape, but rather, using its parts to make a new, unique, and largely different whole.
For instance, think of the past as an assortment of fruits and vegetables: Broccolis, cauliflowers, carrots, potatoes, strawberries, cranberries, raisins, unicorn hoofs, passion fruits and coconuts. Now, you throw all of your ingredients, all of the fruit and veg, into a food processor. And voila! You have your self a weird looking brown goo.
It doesn’t look like any of the fruits that were initially thrown into the chamber. The end result is a thick liquid, of a chocolaty colour – its texture, taste, smell, and everything about it seems distinctly dissimilar to your initial products.
Now, our minds, the delightful tools that they are, represent the food processors, the blenders; they are the machines capable of creating futures. The future is the produced result. We throw the past into our minds, our blending machines, and bam! You’ve got yourself a delicious, future special.
In this light, and from this perspective, it seems clear, to me at least, that the only thing existent, the only thing engaged with reality, is the present moment.
Not in some hooey-fooey self-help-y way, but in a This makes logical sense, sort of way.
Some might argue, I might even argue, that the future, as an abstracted hypothesis, does indeed exist in the present; it exists in the form of a concept, of an idea, of a thought, of a perception.
However, the point that the future, as a tangible “thingy,” does not exist, holds true.
Anyway, it’s too early to get so gratuitously philosophical. And I’ve no interest in trying to draw out my thoughts any further in this post.
Peace in. Peace out. And peace all around. Adios, amigos.
Humans-are-weird. Because time, a largely illusory, relative construct, dictates so much of their lives.