by Kevin Mercurio
“Never forget that there is a future. You might forget the past, and at least acknowledge the present.”
I wrote these sentences more than two years ago now, so I guess I do dwell on the past every now and then. In this post, what I hope to do is to reach into the deepest regions of the mind, and dive into the abstract and undefined. I would like to explore the peculiar abstract quantity of time, and how thinking about time we can also reflect on free will, morality, and happiness.
Time has always interested me but is one of those concepts you ruminate on indirectly. This post (though late, from my frame of reference anyway) took one year to even exist before the last yearly blog post. You may have woke up at a specific time, performed a workout for a duration of time, waited for a time in line to buy something at the store. How much of reality is governed by the existence of time and its everlasting race to the future.
That’s how time is… The past-time, present-time and future-time. Like a horizontal line, with one side being the past, the other side being the future, and this tiny one-dimensional point in the middle being the present. I often really try to experience the present, but it keeps constantly changing. Can you even acknowledge the present before it becomes the past? Or in other words, can you truly live life in the moment?
Time has been extremely apparent to me as I reflect on 2018, whether that be career-wise or in my personal life. Year 2018 went by so rapidly compared with previous years. I was busy with graduate school, writing reports, writing short stories, starting a new relationship, changing apartments, adopting a cat, establishing friendships and spearheading academic projects. But why does the experience of time speed up during instances when you’re most active and engaged? Shouldn't an evolved human mind not try and savour these moments?
I say this because I feel that this constant rumination on the past or rigid planning for the future has really taken a toll on my well being. The worst part is that it is necessary. I’m organized into this schedule I devised that attempts to obtain a desired outcome for the future, and sometimes I forget about the positive principles of life like morality and happiness.
I don’t mean to just savour the good moments either. I thoroughly acknowledge that I’m guilty of remaining in the good moments while accelerating the bad moments. Even the bad ones have their time and space. Struggling through an experimental procedure, arguing over mundane things with those you love; once savoured, these can be taken as learning experiences (past) that will benefit you in moment-to-moment decisions (present) that you will encounter over the duration of your life (future).
This idea of the interconnectedness of those abstract types of time made me ask myself whether we are governed by this baseline physical quantity. Do I, as an existing being, possess the quality of free will?
I believe everyone should ask themselves whether they really have free will or not, and how this belief can change the way they experience time in their life. Can your conscience mind be in charge of the decisions you make if your past has directly influenced the present moment? Free will is the greatest illusion since the elephant that magically appears in a guarded room.
“We learn to be knowledgable, we experience to be wise”. Without free will, I believe one can still be moral and achieve happiness. Physical time is what brings these apparently irreconcilable notions together. Although we may not be able to freely make decisions, even the ones we eventually choose to carry out, we experience the consequences of these decisions that will impact our happiness. We tend to favour decisions that make us happy, but in the end, it’s the decisions with high moral standing that ultimately feel the most right.
In summation, despite how fast 2018 felt by my perspective, I certainly experienced moments that I can now reflect on in the present moment. Every instance in which I could go back in time to the moments I lost that opportunity to abide by positive principles, I think about how these moments could not have been avoided. Almost like religious destiny, it is to our advantage to harness this awareness of the present and determine what we can take away from the past, in order to encounter happiness in our future.
Have an awesome 2019 my beautiful family and friends!
As I did in the past, I would like to share with you now the blooper reel of 2018. To the unforgettable nights, to the Las Vegas lights, and the furball who stole the hearts of two crazy people, here’s to a year of essential wisdom!