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On The Present Moment

June 19, 2017

And those who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.â- Nietzsche

The tiger doesnât wonder whether Sarah really likes him for who he is. The snake doesnât imagine a better future driving a Lamborghini. The raccoon doesnât lament that life, âis a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.â

âTo be or not to be, that is the question.â

We humans are uniquely gifted with the ability to plan the future and learn from the past. We can decide to pursue a high-paying career to someday enjoy the benefits of material wealth. We can imagine ourselves five years from now driving a Lamborghini, model in tow, with a satisfied grin on our face. We can prepare ourselves for a better, brighter future. But how often do we appreciate the present?

Shouldnât we be stricken with awe every time we see the sunset? Shouldnât we lose ourselves in bliss every time we look into our loverâs eyes? Hell, why isnât driving a Honda Accord a transcendent experience?

Why does it seem so absurd that a daily commute in a low-end car could be a portal to the sublime? Because, when we drive our Accord, we know itâs just a Honda Accord (definitely not a Lamborghini).

Yet, if your brain werenât comparing everything that is to everything that could be, you might just slip away into rapture every day on your way to work (yes, even if you drive a crappy Honda).


If it werenât for noisy thoughts of the future, you would be captivated by the music in the present: the pale sky, the sprawling city, the cool air. You could spend your days marveling in wonder at the tapestry of present-moment sensations.

Why does this thought experiment register as satirical? Why does it seem so false?

Because we spend all our time in the past and the future. We are constantly rear-ended by negative thoughts. We constantly wonder, âWould I be happier if my girlfriend was a model?â âWill I ever get that promotion?â âWhy does Sam drive a Lamborghini while Iâm stuck in this shitty Accord?â

These thoughts are well-intentioned. It makes logical sense that thinking about a promotion, a new lover, or a better car would help us get those things, and by extension, make us happier. Our brain is a problem-solving supercomputer. It is unrivaled in its ability to solve problems.

With enough time and thought you may date that model, get that promotion, or drive that Lamborghini. Unfortunately, although your brain is a talented problem-solver, it has one fatal flaw. It can solve a million problems, but most of those problems arenât worth solving. You wonât be happy until you ask the right questions.

Your thinking is limited by your context. We live in a society that has a profit motive to inundate you with the idea that happiness lies around the corner. Supercomputer that it is, your brain is constantly learning how to navigate around that corner to find the promised happiness.

Unfortunately, your mind doesnât know that itâs in a rat race. It doesnât understand that although you might find your way around that corner, you wonât find happiness. Youâll only find a piece of cheese: a temporary, unsatisfying reward for your efforts. Besides, once youâre done nibbling on it, thereâs another piece of cheese for you to scurry towards.
Our societyâs values (money, achievement, sex) are the maze leading us towards the next dopamine-releasing chunk of cheese.

It does look good thoughâ¦.

You canât expect a rat to leap out of its maze. It doesnât understand that freedom exists outside those thin walls. Similarly, you canât expect your brain to look for salvation outside the value systems that it has been conditioned to believe are objective reality.

Thatâs why the thought of experiencing transcendence while driving a Honda Accord seems satirical. That thought exists outside the maze that is societyâs values.

Yet, if you acknowledge the possibility that your mind is being limited by societyâs rat race, something changes. You are left to wonder, what if thereâs something better than this exhausting struggle for scraps of future pleasure? What would happen if I decided to play a different game? What if looked for a way over these walls?

The thought would be terrifying. And liberating.

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Post Information
Title On The Present Moment
Author Avery
Date June 19, 2017 9:23 PM UTC (6 years ago)
Blog Red Pill Theory
Archive Link
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You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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