Does the Present Exist?

The Future the Present and the Past.

Does the present exist? What is the present time equal to? Is it equal to one second, a minute, a day or a nanosecond? So what is the present? Is it zero minutes from now and what is now?
I have always wondered.

If you look at a star you are looking at the past (star), maybe 13 billion years ago; the time taken by the light to reach us. So how does the star look like now? You have not received the light from the star yet so it’s in your future?
If you are a moving chameleon what is your present time?
When is it now?

The Present or Future

I suppose in our life we are always moving from the past into the future. You are in the past or in the future. Is the present the immediate past? Is it the immediate future?

Does the present exist?

Do we perceive events at the same time? Those who perceive events faster are they in the future of somebody who perceives events slowly, although they share the same frame of reference?

    Is now a tiny point on a continuous timeline which separates past from future?
    Is now for me the same time as now for other observers.

Any new experience is always happening now. The re-living of some past event is it in the present or past.

Einstein said:

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”.

Eugene O’Neill said

There is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now.

George Carlin said

There’s no present. There’s only the immediate future and the recent past.

Alfred North Whitehead said

What we perceive as present is the vivid fringe of memory tinged with anticipation.

And remember

There’s no time like the present.

Do past events also make up the present?
Do things we remember make up the past?
Do things we forget make up the future?
Does the present exist?

Those who hardly remember their experiences are they living in the future, present or past? Our desires, dreams, and hopes are they part of the

  • Future;
  • Present or
  • The past.

Does the present exist?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 20:38:30

    Time is all about events. One event could be your past, present or future. Time is a reference point. Your present therefore could be in your past or your future. BUT remember that your future could also be in your past or your present. An event no matter how short or long can be your reference point which is your time!!! Your coming into this world was an event thus,you are the past ,present and future!!!!


  2. gotojamesonblog
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 20:54:10

    Interesting stuff


  3. hemlock1981
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 18:03:46

    Excellent pose of a physical, metaphysical, and metaphorical experience.

    Past, present, and future mean different things in different contexts and the pondering of each of them is always an interesting, and fun endeavor.

    I feel that as long as we learn from all three areas of time, we should be a a very good position.


  4. gotojamesonblog
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 18:24:15

    For me the present does not seem to exist. Its a thin line between past and future. I tend to see more of the past than the future. My future seems to be full of longings and desires; anticipation. I wish I could be able to stay in the present. I would appreciate if dear hemlock1981 you could give me an example of the contextual meaning of the present, past and future.


  5. hemlock1981
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 19:06:47

    You give a great scientific example of what the past, present, and future are and may be. But in other non-scientific “contexts” such as in dreaming, and personal experiences, time seems to be relavent to the individual. I can say, “Presently, I am at work.” That covers 8 hours of my “present.” Or I can say, “At the present time, I work for…”

    The term, “Living in the moment” fits here as well. The “moment” is defined by the individual. A family gathering is a great example of a “moment.” That whole “moment” is “present.”

    Future can be similar to present. If I say the word, “tomorrow” that may mean different things to different people. It may mean the immediate next day, or a time in place in the near future. It aslo can envelope “anticipation.”

    The past is harder to fit into this, yet can be done as well. Paul McCartney wrote a song entitled, “Yesterday” Of course he did not mean the immediate day before, but to a simpler time in his past in which he did not make so many mistakes.

    Dreaming is a different subject altogether. In dreaming, the past is mixed in with the future. And then you can throw in the present to confuse the situation some more. But dreaming leaves the imagination in charge, and then you have to question the idea that there could be time in a “non-reality” situation.

    Sorry for the long reply, I am a “long talker.” Excellent discussion. 🙂


  6. jameson goto
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 19:37:36

    Do not worry about the long reply at all. I enjoyed reading it.Thanks for the insight man.
    I have to rethink the way I look at future, past and present


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