The Unpalatable Truth

I am attached to imaginary pleasure in the future. That’s what gets me through the day. That’s what floats my boat. That’s my game, if you will. Before you mock me however, consider – isn’t that the best and most enduring type of pleasure there is? Think about it: the pleasures of the future are there forever – they never get used up. We can enjoy them again and again, as often as we please. If the Great Enemy is transience – the never-ceasing flow of change – then this is our best defence. What other defence do we have?


We can cling to the pleasures of the past, of course. This is always an option. This is especially attractive if it seems that the future has nothing in store for us but bitterness. Why not look back, in this case? You might as well. This is the same thing as looking forward to pleasures in the future however. What’s the difference? There’s no difference. Past or future, it’s all the one – it’s a place that exists in your head and nowhere else. You can go with whichever one works for you. I don’t mind. Take your pick.


The important thing is defeating the flow of change, defeating transience. I think we can all agree on that. Let’s not be under any illusions there. I know we all go on about ‘living in the moment’ the whole time and how wonderful that is – and I’m as guilty as the next man in this regard – but that’s only because we don’t like to see that the transience is the Great Destroyer. And the present moment is nothing if not transient! We don’t like to face that fact though. We won’t admit it to ourselves even though actually we know it perfectly well.


We human beings are such weak and fearful creatures. Me as much as anyone else. I’m not denying that. The main thing we’re afraid of is a little thing called THE TRUTH and the truth is that only in the past or future can we exist. We can’t exist in the now, when it comes down to it. There’s nothing there for us. We can’t exist in the present moment. That’s just how it is, that’s the unpalatable truth that none of us wants to face up to. That’s the unpalatable truth and I’m serving it up to you again after reheating it for the twentieth time in the microwave. Because you didn’t want to eat it the first time…


The brutal uncompromising truth is that nothing carries on. Nothing ever did, nothing ever will do. There is only flux, as your man said. The Greek dude. Nothing passes on from one moment to the next, absolutely nothing. How little we understand time! We like to think that time is something moving; something moving that we can hitch a ride in, like a train rushing by a station, on its way to some glorious destination. It’s not like that though. There’s no train and there’s no glorious destination. Nothing moves. There’s no moving. No one’s going anywhere…


There’s just now, that’s all, and there’s no pleasure to be had in the now. How can there be – there’s no duration to it. There’s no extension, there’s no ‘lasting’, there’s no ‘carrying on’. Nothing lasts in the now and that’s the whole point. There’s no one there in the now to enjoy anything, for God’s sake. To enjoy something you need duration. You need ‘now and then’, you need ‘now and the future’. You need something to look back at or look forwards to. You need extension and there is no extension in the present moment. That’s why we have to invent it. So now maybe you can see what I mean when I say that transience is the Great Enemy and that we are on this account totally justified in adopting any tactic that might give us the edge in the struggle. The struggle to exist at all, in any shape or form…





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