How long is ‘now’ – you know, the evanescent moment we live in and usually let past without properly experiencing it.
Now, like time itself, is largely seen as a philosophical issue; a personal perception that stretches or shrinks depending on what we are doing. For a kid, an hour spent in a classroom listening to the teacher drone on about stuff the kid neither knows nor care about is an eternity; yet an hour hurtling about with friends at play disappears in a flash. Adults have a different perception of time again; that same elasticity flowing from interest and enthusiasm, but metered often by a sense of purpose. Yes the job’s boring, but it has to be done.
Beyond that is the concept of the ‘moment’ itself. What is ‘now’? In Buddhist philosophy it means being mindful – fully and properly aware of one’s immediate self, immediate place, and immediate environment. It means having awareness of the fullness of the moment, even in its transience, even as we think about past or future.
But what ‘is’ a ‘moment’, scientifically? The reported research indicated that a ‘moment’, to most people, is two or three seconds. Then that perception of ‘now’ vanishes and is replaced by a new one.
If we match that to attention spans we find that the typical time spent on any one item on the internet is literally only a couple of ‘moments’. And then when we realise how shallow the internet must be.
It also underscores just how important and valuable mindfulness actually is. Because a couple of blinks, literally, and the ‘now’ moment is gone.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015