Everywhere to Live
As of recent, any statement said by anyone trying to be profoundly profound that ends with, ‘live in the present’ strikes an explosive grievance with me. Now, I appreciate the sentiment, kind of. And I get the poetic logic behind it. But in the pit of my belly something can’t help but be upset at how irreconcilably wrong of a value statement the aforementioned is.
It’s a very strict linguistic measure that I’m using to judge this idea and that in and of itself can be seen as my own misstep. Language is that like of most, similarly to time, a created system, made to measure objective data and created so by ever-conflicting animals living in a world littered with entropic systems. So I get that holding the aforementioned statements up to this measure is my own problem and holding others to that standard makes me a ridiculous hypocritical zealot. But my zeal for this language and semantic standard is not to disqualify the person speaking or force them to see themselves as wrong or even show me as a tyrant, but rather to open the lid to a statement that though initially considered liberating and true is actually quite restrictive and faulty. The problem is the faultiness of a greater system and that being the system of time. And the pearl of the statement ‘in the present’ is defining itself within this faulty system.
It needs to be understood then that time, in it’s literal creation, is a measure for the physical objective world. Hence when associating something in the physical world-a calendar, historical data, a recipe, or even the rules of a game-into this empirical system, time serves well for boundaries as well as direct lines for cross-reference.
However, the problem with the initial statements is they do not apply strictly to the physical objective world. Yes they may be said to define a system for us the animal that is the Homo sapiens, but this animal is one that is aware of itself therefore aligning itself with that with the vast quality of the metaphysical. Meaning the non-objective.
And here time, at least of the purely objective nature, does not play well. Time cannot be strictly referenced into digits and places within the non-objective because humans, being the ones who have created and given value to that of time-the past, the present, the future-make themselves larger and bigger than time and it’s many understood values. Time cannot fully contain us, but we can survey, appreciate, and define from the outside all that is time.
Therefore living within the constraints as such a finite and reserved term as ‘the present’ is inherently impossible since us as humans, the creator and the pneuma, cannot live within these created restraints. Time can serve as an objective marker, but we cannot be marked by the present. We are spatially incapable of living within the seven characters of the ‘present’ especially when the attribution of the ‘present’ is to the quality of us being metaphysical.
And when I say metaphysical I mean it with a strong ontological resonance. I am referring to us as more than just an animal but a being with the ability to think, consider, wander, change, project, self-actualize, value, and dream and do so continually conscious or not.
Caveat: Now I am not saying that we are a superior being and that other animals themselves don’t share these traits and characteristics, nor am I hoisting these cerebral qualities outside the realm of science whereby each of these traits are more than simple electric and cell-based functions. What I am saying is that they exist and are shared by most of us and since we have come to an somewhat universal agreement on time and how it functions for us then we ourselves cannot serve ourselves within time but time as our system must serve us.
Now, just for the hell of it, if I were to try and live in the finite now, I would by the end of a few explosive minutes have to pull the Camusian trigger. Because I would be employing myself in the impossible and endless maze of locating the temporal fleeting present that is as easily gone as it was here. If we have defined the now as the immediate, in the absolute finite and physical space of the NOW, then immediately it is the past and the now is new and there can never be a point to stop and appreciate, god forbid, live in the present now. At some point I would have to quit the search and have to concede to a lesser torture and value just living in the past because to a certain degree the term the past is less restrictive than the present and allows for a more obtuse space for us to consider many previous remainders.
Similarly, if it were somehow magically possible to live strictly within the absolute present, if I could live in the immediacy of the ability to parse out value, and considered that the absolute space to live then where would one derive any sort of value for living. To take the restraints off the value of the term ‘the past’ allows the term to evolve into the idea of ‘the learned.’ Therefore if one were to absolutely discredit the past and want to live immediately in the now, then all the values of what one has learned both objective and subjective, are lost. How then would one be rendered anywhere outside that of an almost vegetative solely breathing being?
The same goes true for the future. The future is a spatial place that furthers our ability to value and create different appreciative qualities for the supposed now. Without the future it would be impossible to render any value to ‘what might be’ or even ‘what could be’ or lastly ‘what is.’ Rather we would be living in blindness. Blind to all the possibilities that the world as we continue to create it could possibly bare.
The solution for me is this. Instead of trying to be poetic with ‘the present’ let’s be a bit more practical with ‘the near future.’ It does not ring the heart’s ear with whimsy, but it falls a bit more applicable. ‘Live in the near future,’ does not strike the proverbial gavel as well as we’d like, but it does have a bit more clarity into where we currently are where we should be always looking.
The term ‘near future’ is a scary one because if compared to the ‘present’ two words are harder to define than just one. And also, within those two words are two broad and almost counterintuitive values. Near being close and future being distant and far. However the marriage of the two words is a more manageable bridge for us to walk along our existence because as hopefully proved earlier, the present, at least by linguistic measure, has already crumbled immediately before us.
The near serves us well because it inherently works more as a subjective torch as opposed to a rigorous objective crosshair. With no definitive parameters, the value of near allows its breadth of appreciation to vary outside of that of the immediate or the present, but still stays close as to not be too diluted. And the future serves us because it is the successor to the term ‘present’ therefore allowing us not to be forced into the impossible hunt of living in the so called ‘present.’ And furthermore being the successor of the impossible present it it’s also apart of the lineage of the past whereby it can derive values of the learned and do so naturally.
Well then why not say simply, ‘Live in the future.’ Because the term near serves as a bridle or leash to keep our pursuits and our subjective heads out of living too far away from all that is happening around us continually and close. If near is the torch then future is the horizon into which we are looking; and if there is no torch to focus our vision then we will easily get lost in the vastness that is that endless horizon.
I sound ridiculous, I know, but I am confident in the ‘near future’ as both a literal and semantic replacement to the ‘present.’ It allows us by the construction of the system of time and its constraints as well as the system of language, to bridge the objective and the subjective. It allows objective time to still be principled with the term future and still allow for the non-objective being to live and dwell and define value with the word near. And finally it allows there to be a further light than just the immediacy of the limiting now while providing a space for us to really breathe and enjoy all of everything that is a life that has created time.
As I write and think and breathe, time passes, and yet still, here, there, and everywhere I still am.