Monday, September 9, 2019

Past and Future

Talking to someone plagued with guilt over a past action, worried he'll never overcome it:

What do you suppose it will feel like to be you in the future? Try to envision how Future You will feel. Even just 20 seconds in the future! Will the future feel different? Will it feel tangibly futuristic?

Ok, and...we're there! I'm now speaking to Future You! The curtain has pulled back and here he is! So, how does it feel? Futuristic in any way? No? Same old feeling, just like always? Super-familiarly “now”, even though you're Future Man?

Let's try another. What did it feel like to be in the past? Try to remember who you were when we began this conversation. You're recalling through the gauze of memory, so Past You doesn't feel quite real; he's a bit of a ghost. Well, in 20 seconds I'm going to ask you to look back and remember this. So take stock! Do you feel ghostly?

And....20 seconds have passed. We're there! So look back. Who was that person? How did the ghostliness get in? How did the reality drain out? Is there truth to any of that? Can you directly remember it feeling like “now” then, or is the recollection more of a photocopy of the real thing? If it feels like a photocopy now, did it feel at all that way then?

Collate all this information and ponder it (if, like me, you're someone with enough curiosity to constantly reexamine the obvious). The future, looking forward, seems alien. The past, looking backward, seems ghostly, drained of real Now feeling. But actual experience never varies. It's always totally Now. It's never not now. Unquestionably Now-ish always and forever. No one has ever experienced past or future, so they’re not real. They’re intellectual constructs. What's real is right now. And now. And now. Here you are. And here you are. And here you are.

That being true, it means we always start fresh. Every moment starts fresh, with infinite potential.

See also "Baking Fresh Every Time"

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