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Ricardo Marques

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Has anyone ever thought about the fact that no one can live in the present?

Every bit of information our brains process is about something that has already happened. Any event we gain conscious knowledge of is already gone. The best examples are sound and light, everything we see and hear and when we notice that information has had to travel some distance, like fireworks. We see them and then hear them, but they blew up way before we know. To give it another twist lets use deep space exploration since pretty much all data being gathered now from planets light-years away, did happen years ago so we end up seeing many galaxies that no longer even exist.

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  • Aug 15 2012: According to one brain theorist the brain works by prediction. Since all of our sensory inputs reflect the past, you could say that our conscious is never operating in the present. Or, you could say that the brain is constantly predicting the present from the past. Or, you could look at it from Einstein's relativistic point of view and say that talking about the immediate past, present and immediate future makes no sense because they overlap. Then there is the quantum realm, which is just plain confusing.

    IMO, time has no existence except as a human concept, and this whole discussion is just a matter of playing with words. This can be fun.

    When we are dreaming, are we living in the present?
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      Aug 17 2012: Good point. More food for thought:

      If in the beginning there was nothing, what would we have to alter that situation with?

      Doesn't this imply that something has always existed or that eternity is real?
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        Aug 17 2012: John and Barry,
        The concept of eternity has no beginning and no end...no limitations....correct? I agree with Barry, that time has no existence except as a human concept.

        I suggest that when we are dreaming, we may actually be moving outside the human limitations of time and space?
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          Aug 17 2012: Colleen Steen you are a lady after my heart. I agree with you on this issue. I also have this simple theory:

          I've had dreams that seemed so real, when I awoke I thought I was in a different place other then the real world of the dream. This gave rise to the thought of how I could consolidate my theory of eternity with the reality we perceive

          The great stumbling block to existence for all mankind is the question where did it all begin and how?

          My theory does away with this question by answering, there never was a time when there was a beginning of existence because if in the beginning there was nothing, there would be nothing to change this situation, ergo, something had to always exist.

          What if, we die in this life (or reality) and we wake up in another reality, thinking the former life was just a dream? In a parallel reality, where all possibilities could exist, eternity could hold these separate existences for me, you, everyone else, with no problem.

          Most of our life is making decisions about which path to travel and how to behave on those paths. Our paths intersect from time to time, with the other lives we live and we share information (deja vu?)

          Anyway, it's just a free-form thought about existence.
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          Aug 19 2012: I'm sorry to interrupt, but I couldn't help but respond to your comment Colleen. When we dream, are brains are still almost as active as when we are awake, dreams are basically a representation of who we really are, no matter how strange are dreams me be. If you can watch a persons dream, you can reveal their true colors, so to speak. Mind reading technology is already in development. At some university, a person was shown a series of letters and simultaneously, a computer portrayed the letters being processed through the persons mind in fair detail. When you get down to it, are brains are really just advanced computers with neurons acting as transistors.

          When you explain your extraordinary experience of leaving your body, it sounds like you are explaining sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis basically portrays certain events, beliefs, or feelings you have in your conscious world. In fact, it is sleep paralysis that is believed to account for these so called "alien abduction cases" since aliens and advanced technology are a common thing that runs through the minds of 21's century people.

          These out of body experiences basically your mind energy, which extends outside the body, along with sleep paralysis manifesting your thought, beliefs and experience. I believe that one sleep paralysis experience may trigger another because of the fact that it feels like a true physical experience.
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        Aug 19 2012: Well thank you John.....I think!

        I have also had dreams where I thinki/feel I am in a totally different place. You've probably heard of astral travel? A process by which the energy leaves the body while the body is asleep? I even had one situation where I strongly felt I knew where I was in a dream-like state, and a person in that place called me on the phone and thanked me for being there!

        I have experienced many different levels of consciousness that are beyond anything that is explainable on a human level.

        The question of "where did it all begin and how" is not a "stumbling block" for me because I am content not knowing that at this time. When it is time to have that information, I will have it.

        I feel like I DID die, and wake up in another reality. In my perception, that other reality I experience feels more like "home" than the earth school reality. I agree that we could be living parallel realities. Time is only a human construct, so outside or beyond the human life experience, we could indeed be living many different lives.

        I agree that our paths intersect and we share information, which could explain the concept of deja vu. Another theory (or maybe along the same line), is that the energy that powers the body, moves through the body...in and out....and to different life forms, just like electrical energy moves from place to place...yes? The electric lines are the carriers, just as our bodies are carriers of energy. If that is true, we may be assimilating information carried with the movement of energy?

        Yes...free-form thought about existence...always interesting to explore:>)
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        Aug 19 2012: Hey Kevin....Welcome!
        I totally agree with you that brains are very much like advanced computers with neurons acting as transistors. I also agree with you that out of body experiences are basically energy, which extends outside the body, as you so insightfully put it:>)

        You have offered interesting information, as you are known to do, and I imagine you know that there are several different theories, which try to explain what we are talking about:>)

        As John says...this is a free-form thought about existence.....and other "stuff"!
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          Aug 19 2012: I do indeed know of many theories, but sleep paralysis seems the most reasonable. In fact, some people never wake up from sleep paralysis. The don't die, they just go into a coma. I don't personally believe there are any supernatural phenomena involved, i.e., religious events. I mean no offense to you if you are of faith. If you believe it is a supernatural event, then I fully respect that belief.
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        Aug 19 2012: Well OK Doctor Kevin,
        I'm pretty much awake, so perhaps I don't have it? LOL
        I'm sure you know that sleep paralysis is diagnosed usually when all other brain disorders are eliminated! Apparently, you have elimininated all other brain disorders! That's a good thing...LOL!

        Kevin, my dear, I don't THINK I have any brain disorders, but ya never know! I had plenty of cognitive testing, scans, MRIs, eegs, ekgs, etc. etc. etc. for years after the near fatal head/brain injury, and you'd think they would have detected a disorder? I've been told that everything is functioning "normally" and cognitive tests were high normal/superior.

        No, I am not a person of faith, I do not believe in a god, nor do I practice any religion. What I have experienced was/is very natural to me, and apparently it is to the thousands of other people who experience it as well:>) Many of the so called "supernatural" experiences are simply natural, but we do not yet have an explanation for them with our limited knowledge as humans at this time.
        Thanks for your concern:>)
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          Aug 19 2012: Sleep paralysis isn't a disorder. Some people just get it. Most people do wake up, just a select few have a slight misfortune. I will admit, I'm no doctor obviously, but I am familiar with several brain functions and disorders and can sometime identify them based of the represented symptoms.
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        Aug 19 2012: Kevin,
        I am also familiar with several brain functions and disorders, as many people are, and may be able to identify them based on symptoms. However, it is not a good thing to try to do in a public forum. Any kind of mental or physical diagnosis is not appropriate in a public discussion....in my humble opinion.
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          Aug 19 2012: I agree. But, as I've stated, sleep paralysis is normal. It's no more abnormal than breathing. In a sense, all it is is a really realistic dream.
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    Aug 13 2012: I don't agree Ricardo,
    The past is gone by, the future is not yet a reality. The only reality is the present moment.

    We certainly are influenced by the past, and we can certainly plan and speculate about the future. However, it is only memories and speculation (information) that we have from the past and future. Even when you use the examples of light and sound, which may take time to travel to us, we are seeing and hearing in OUR present moment. The moment or second that it was produced is gone by.
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      Aug 17 2012: We can all agree about OUR present moment but I think the author was trying to contemplate where the real present moment is in relation to our position in time and space. I must admit, it's a thought twister.
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        Aug 17 2012: Hi John,
        In my perception, time and space are human constructs. The concept of past, present and future may be human constructs as well. In the human form, we have created these limitations. I suggest that in other forms, time and space are not limitations. So, I was addressing the topic from a human standpoint.

        I say this because I had a NDE/OBE (near death experience) years ago. I believe that the energy that powers the body, moves and flows through other forms. Outside the human experience, there may not be the limitations of time, space, past, present and future. It may be all happening at the same "time". I realize this is difficult to even imagine because it is beyond what we know or can explain as humans:>)

        In my perception, OUR present moment is the only present moment, as we live the human life experience:>)
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          Aug 17 2012: I find no fault with your ideas. Teaching the young to understand such ideas or discover them on their own can be a problem so I try to be as simple as possible.

          I also had a NDE?OBE when I was hit by a mortar round in Vietnam. A very interesting subject.
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        Aug 19 2012: John,
        I think/feel that young people already know this "stuff". Unfortunately, life experiences often teach kids to NOT pay attention to these ideas.

        Sorry that you were in a war, and very sorry you were injured. It must be a horrible experience...my heart goes out to you.
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          Aug 19 2012: I'm familiar with some Greek Philosophy which hit upon the idea that we are born with all knowledge and lose it as time goes on, or, it is distorted by the way we think. I don't think this probability has been demonstrated in the laboratory. Some say that if you hypnotize some people, they can take you on a tour of a previous life. I wonder if this might be possible?

          According to my philosophy of Eternalisim, it is possible to not only travel from dream life to dream life, but in time as well, backwards and forwards.

          The war damage was hard to bear but I have succeeded in finding a way. I have suffered less than most and perhaps a bit more than some. Life is a great adventure. On my website (see profile) you can see what I think about war.
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        Aug 20 2012: John,
        I'm familiar with theories which suggest we have this information when we are born too. If you've been around kids at all, you may notice how wonderful their imagination is? They are often talking about their "imaginary friend", they are going on "trips" to far off imaginary places, etc. Where do you think/feel imagination comes from? What is imagination? I believe it is simply another channel, which connects us to more information. I have heard and read quite a bit about past life exploration....have not done it on a human conscious level, but did have information regarding my past lives with the NDE. Reincarnation was not part of my belief system prior to the NDE, now it is.

        If, as we speculate, there is no limitation of "time" outside the human experience, it is not unreasonable to imagine that we can indeed travel in many different directions?

        I am glad you found a way to navigate through the war experience....I cannot even begin to imagine how that feels, except to be horribly frightening. My only experience of frightening conflict, was with a raging, waring, violent father. I checked out your website...I agree....there are other ways.
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      Aug 17 2012: Which present moment are you talking about?
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      Aug 19 2012: Yes absolutely. It is the only moment that is real...or at least we think it is:>)

      Is any part of the earth school experience real? Or is it an illusion?

      I tend to think/feel it is "real" as understood in human form:>)
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        Aug 19 2012: Stimuli come in from your senses, your brain take the info and creates an image (much like a TV), then connects the images together into a movie. That which exists in the "moment" views the movie and calls it reality. Some of the movies are symbolized by the brain and stored as memory in a way that some, but not necessarily all, of the movie can be replayed.

        As soon as your see it, you start to forget it. Like music, it needs to be refreshed in your mind. Each time, a little is lost or changed --and so new notes are added or subtracted to cause the music to change. The moment that was, becomes the moment lost; or just a memory.

        What you see, when you close your eyes, is all that you really saw. To see it all is to have no need to look anymore.

        I like to say -- it was real and it was fun, but sometimes it wasn't real fun; but sometimes it was but isn't now.

        Life, in my opinion, is a journey to death and the real living begins after that moment. It is then that the secrete will be revealed. For you, and for me, we have seen that secret place and may yearn for it again; or, at least not fear a return to the secrete place.

        I'm not afraid, are you?
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          Aug 20 2012: John,
          I also perceive the life/death experience as a journey, and I believe it to be a continuation of life in another form. The energy, which powers the human body, does not simply die, or go away, it continues to exist in other forms, in my perception and observation. To me, the human life experience is an adventure....a mission that I will fullfill....and then I will go back home. No, I am not afraid....I am looking forward to it, when it is time. While I am HERE, NOW, I am totally engaged in the human life adventure.
  • Aug 10 2012: Many great minds have given theimselves to the conviction that "now" alone exists and a deep understanding of that fact will take us to a better interaction with our environment and ourselves. After all, past and future are conjecture but "now" is fact.
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      Aug 17 2012: Now is too fleeting to pin down and in an immeasurably small space of time, it to becomes history. History must have some relevance if we view reality in this manner.
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        Aug 20 2012: History has relevance, in that we have the opportunity to learn from it. As we are contemplating and evaluating our history, we are in the present moment....are we not?
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    Aug 10 2012: Yes....at least some people I know thought that...
    We live in continuum......
  • Aug 10 2012: I believe we are living in the present even when we are observing what happened in the past and when we make decisions. All life is present tense. We may observe what is presently happening; we consider what we learned about has happened in the past; we may also while in present thinking offer a prediction of the future.

    All thinking is present tense. Sub conscious stores, present conscious thinks, and super conscious is part of future preparation for decisions.

    Food for thought.
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      Aug 19 2012: I can see that. The time that was my mother's generation was her life and we tend to categorized ourselves as living in generations as opposed to living in a moment of time. Perhaps a moment is too small for us to focus upon, or gives little sense to the real meaning of life.

      It is the summation of moments that give real meaning to life.
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      Aug 20 2012: Mark and John,
      I agree that when we live in the present moment, we are observing what happened in the past, and possibley making plans for the future, but we are IN the present moment while remembering and planning.

      I believe what takes us out of the present moment, is focusing our time and energy on either the past or future. If we are constantly focused on the past (regurgitating events, living our life based on past experiences for example), we miss connection with the present moment. When we are very focused and dependant on future outcomes, we sometimes miss connection with experiences in the present moment.

      I agree with Mark....we can "observe" the past, and possibilities for the future while being aware of the present moment.

      John, I think of us humans, as a drop of water in the river, lake or ocean, constantly flowing in the life experience. We are tiny, and yet part of the bigger picture. We are tiny, as is the present moment, and yet very much a part of the whole. Depending on what an individuals worldview is, that "whole", can be the family, the community, the country, earth.......or beyond:>)

      I agree John...it is the summation of moments that give meaning to life:>)
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    Aug 21 2012: After dark, the images disappear and we are left with our memory of the images.

    The images have nothing to do with who we are. We are what we do.

    What is the world view of a blind person?
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    Aug 21 2012: It was similar for me also. I was aware of my identity but not aware of a container body, so to speak. I was aware of another identity in my vicinity, but I couldn't tell where it was located. I was there and it was not me.

    Yes. I was human.
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    Aug 21 2012: One of our brain's tasks is to process new information. New information arrives via the five senses. Your assertion claims that the event (A), which is the source of the new information, and our receipt (B) of that new information, cannot be simultaneous, there must be some measure of Time separating A from B. The difficulty of defining the Present comes when the question is asked, "How much Time separates the event (A) from our receipt of the new information about the event (B)? On a Timeline the Present separates everything to the left (Past) from everything to the right (Future). Assigning a Time value to the Present is how we define the thickness of the line which separates Past from Future. The thicker the line width the longer the Present lasts. That line width MUST be zero. The Present has no beginning and no ending. The Present does not exist in Reality. The Present is a concept only. Now the fun part . . . the same can be said of the Past and the Future! Time is simply a unit of measure for change. Without change there is no need for Time. Someday Time will be no more!!
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    Aug 17 2012: What if you two mirrors and you are standing in the middle between them?
    Are you the reflective image of the two?
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      Aug 19 2012: John,
      If we were standing in the middle of two mirrors, wouldn't we see MANY reflections back and forth of ourselves, as well as many reflections of the mirrors? I'm not getting how this is related to the topic...help!
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        Aug 20 2012: If you notice the reflections are all distinct. There is no phase interruption as the light particles/waves interact with one another. There is no color distortion. I wonder if this is a real phenomenon of our mind making the corrections to see things correctly (which is what the mind does).

        If the mirrors are arranged in such a way as to superimpose the reflections on one another would the image appear differently? Do you know how the stereo viewer works?

        It was just a thought. I always keep in mind that what I see is a corrected version of reality. The mind is constantly forcing us to make sense of the world around us and will correct things if necessary to bring the world into our normal view. This, of course forces us to use other means of measuring phenomena to determine exactly what is happening.

        Time is a hard function to take out of the equation when we want to measure real phenomena. I sometimes look at it as ticks on a measuring stick which are only accepted measures of distance. Even if you compress space to reduce the distance between two points, it just looks like you traveled through time.

        It's a spicy subject.
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          Aug 21 2012: OK John, I think I get what you are saying, and I agree to a certain extent. No, I do not know how a stereo viewer works....I am technically challenged! LOL:>)

          Is the mind "constantly forcing us to make sense of the world around us"? Do you think/feel we have a choice? To continually program the mind with information that will support our personal worldview? OR...open the mind to possibly new information?

          Using your mirror images for example. If we stand still, the images will not change...correct? If we move, the images will change. Movement, involves a choice on our part, and the mind directs the movement of the body? So, it is not just our mind at work. It takes other factors to create change. If we decide NOT to move, and not change the images, the information provided to the mind/brain by way of the reflections remains the same.....yes?
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    Aug 13 2012: This is kinda true in the sense that, when you look at an image, it's not really an image of the present, it's really an image of the past that took 1/trillions of seconds to reach your eyes, for your brain to process.

    So when you're looking in the mirror, you're seeing the image of something that was made a fraction of a second ago.
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      Aug 17 2012: A ghost image?
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        Aug 17 2012: Nah, I'm saying that light doesn't travel instantaneously, it still takes some time to get from the source to your eyes.
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          Aug 19 2012: Collen has made me think that perhaps we are confusing light speed with the real experience of the moment. As a moth moves closer to the flame, it has to know it is getting hotter. We may not need to travel the full distance to recon the outcome or define it into an experience.
  • Aug 11 2012: "Every bit of information our brains process is about something that has already happened. "
    Wrong. You never went to cinema, or read a novel? Imagination is something that has not happened, but is in our brain too.
    Also your firework will only work, if you fire it.

    That your eyes/brain have a delay does not mean much about the presence of something. A crowd of people some hundred metres away is there, even you might be unable to count how many people they are.

    That not existing galaxies is the same like not existing t-rex dinosaur. We are still able to collect traces of it, but of course it does not exist anymore. But that does not say we are not living in the presence, it just tells that the dinosaur is not. See how you fool yourself through analyzing too much? Keep it simple.
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      Aug 17 2012: I think the topic has more to do with space and time relationships rather than imaginative scenarios.

      You are correct, I believe. Perhaps we put too much into the actual experience and muddle it up a bit.
  • Aug 11 2012: Time is for humans; so you can only live in the present.
    Light and sound may have speed and measurements in time, but it is humanity that lives IN TIME.
    You can think of the past, but how foolish and miserable is that fellow that never gives a thought to the future?

    I think we should focus on the human, and his or her choices and relationships. Because that for sure is happening now, and goes on and on and on till his or her time ends.
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      Aug 17 2012: But that is what we are doing -focusing on the human and how they perceive their relationship in the spacial universe. There are so many smart people in this conversation.
  • Aug 11 2012: Present = infinity and it is a kind of impossible condition for a brain processor. Each moment that can be registered/observed by mind is either past or probable future moment, but never present, for it is timeless.
    Mind works in Time, only in Time. Time stops, mind stops or vice verse.

    To be at Present means not to be in time/mind .
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      Aug 19 2012: I can agree with that. If we pause in our translation of the message, we may lose some of the whole message.
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    Aug 11 2012: You can think about the past the present and the future.

    Someone who only thinks about the past is crazy.

    Someone who only thinks about the present is neurotic kinda of crazy (most people)

    Someone who thinks about the future is sane.

    When you work to achieve something you are thinking about the future. Achievement makes people happy. Think up what you want to do, be, have and do it, be it, and have it. It will make you happy.
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    Aug 10 2012: It depends how you define living in the present. There's been quite a lot of thought put into the concept of flow.

    http://psychology.about.com/od/PositivePsychology/a/flow.htm
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      Aug 17 2012: Flow is interesting. I wonder how an electron can be in one place at one moment then in another in another moment without passing through a distance to get there -quantum theory.

      Electrons move from one orbital to the other by not flowing from here to there, rather appearing there and no longer here. My question is does it take time to move from one orbital to the other and where is the electron during that time?
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        Aug 20 2012: There are many questions like that, which we do not have the answers for in human form, don't you think?
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        Aug 20 2012: There is another use of the term flow. It refers to a person being so absorbed in what they are doing that they give no consideration to anything outside that. And when in that state you can only be living in the present.
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          Aug 21 2012: I agree with this Anne, and have experienced it when involved in a project....especially the gardens, where I get lost in time and space....often forgetting to eat or drink for long periods of time. I have a friend who likes to "play" with this idea. She comes to visit, often bringing me lunch or a snack, and will sit in the gardens somewhere very close to where I am working/playing, and I do not notice her until she laughs, or makes some noise that gets my attention.

          Wow though.....I'm contemplating your phrase..."they give no consideration to anything outside...". When I am in that state, I am "considering" EVERYTHING that is around me naturally.....in other words, I am hearing the birds, noticing butterflies, dragonflies and other critters, the earth, flowers, etc. in the gardens. But obviously, if my friend can sneak up on me, I am not noticing that. In my defense, however, her intent is to NOT be noticed for a period of time.....interesting thoughts....thanks:>)
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        Aug 21 2012: John,
        You ask..."Human form? What other forms are there"

        Energy takes a lot of different forms, but I don't have any specific answer for your question. I only know that with the NDE/OBE I observed myself, such as it was, as a flowing mass of energy. I also saw the body on the bed in ICU. Not a pretty site, and I was totally detached from the body and an outcome.It was like looking at my ford ranger being taken in for repairs after an accident! It would either be "totalled", or repaired and on the road again. The body is repaired and on the road again:>)
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    Aug 10 2012: What's already happened belongs to the past, necessarily.
    What happens when you're waiting for something to happen, when you're waiting for the fireworks to start?
    • Aug 10 2012: Very nicely put.
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      Aug 13 2012: What happens is that you're looking at the past, and when you know the fireworks have started you're seeing something that has already happened. The further away you are the more you notice the delay because of the speed of sound on the atmosphere.
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      Aug 17 2012: You feel anticipation.