@Ramnath R Iyer
Moment in Time
3-minute read

The past is, but a mere memory. The future is yet to be. This moment — now — is an idea, fleeting in its essence. What, then, is actually real? The problem with this line of inquiry, of course, is that we have failed to define “real” in any precise sense. Even so, the notion of reality as a collection of moments raises interesting questions. Should we care about the past, the present or the future? Each of these choices leads us to live a different kind of life.

For me, the past takes on a vague and hazy form, a kind of amorphous synthesis of memories that informs my intuitions in the present, but is seldom amenable to careful examination. The past is gone, and has no more power over me. With that belief, my focus has remained on the present and the future, seeking a sense of balance between the two. I advocate this “memoryless” stance to everyone who will listen, as the alternatives are to either stew in nostalgia or struggle with baggage from the past.

But how can one deal with an inherently unpredictable future? The allure of this unpredictability is that it can tempt us to surrender to it and play the victim. On the contrary, the healthy mindset here is to exercise complete control over our choice of actions, but accept the outcomes that these actions subsequently entail. Unpredictable outcomes are not in itself a reason for us to cede agency in the actions available to us. And do note that inaction itself is a kind of action, usually a far inferior one amongst the alternatives. The wise man always makes bets.

Sometimes, the future is all about obsessive iteration. Rocky’s inspirational speech to his son in the movie Rocky Balboa may have framed it best: “[…] it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin’ forward.” Life is about making bets, observing the outcomes mediated by chance, and then figuring out how to keep moving forward. Change is, as they say, the only constant — परिवर्तन संसार का नियम है।

I must have started this blog afresh at least a dozen times by now. Every iteration begins with a long period during which I don’t write anything at all, followed by a desire to blog again. Scrapping my existing content and starting with a clean slate is a way for me to clear up the clutter in my head, and eliminate the baggage of old ideas before I can express new ones. I like expressing ideas, and I find it useful to write them down. None of them are permanent, of course, not even the new ones. All I can offer is an idea that exists within this moment in time.