Another thought-provoking class this morning. Thank you all :)
Haven’t seen Cloud Atlas (yet) but have been doing a lot of long distance driving on highways recently, still thinking about the words of that astronomer in the documentary (mentioned in my last post) as it relates to our inquiry into the nature or substance of time. As I was driving I would look far ahead of me at the stretch of road I would soon be traveling and would reflect on the fact that the image I was seeing with my eyes was actually slightly in the past, as the light bouncing off objects (such as the road ahead) takes some time to reach my eyes, even if the delay is only milliseconds long. And yet, my “seeing” of the road ahead was very much in the present — seeing in the present moment what, nevertheless, was light which had bounced off the road ahead some milliseconds ago.
My inquiry continued.. what of this ‘mental registering’ I was (apparently) experiencing in the present moment of the image of the road ahead? Was that truly “present” or was there a delay here, as well (no matter how small)? Because it can be convincingly argued that even within one’s physical body there is a slight delay of time as neural synapses travel from “thought” to “action” (for instance, from the thought “I will raise my arm” to the actual raising of the arm). But what of the thoughts themselves? Is a “thought” the closest thing to the present moment? What of the delay between the raw data reaching the senses (the light bouncing off the road ahead reaching my eyes) and my mentally registering that image as “the road ahead?”
And then I had to wonder, from what point am I trying to measure this whole time-delay thing? I seem to have a sense of there being an “aware I” that is prior even to thought itself; that this “aware I” is the closest possible point to true presentness (perhaps even presentness itself? but that’s another discussion). ….. and then, more questions — I notice that I seem to be trying to pinpoint “presentness” in time and/or space. That I’m trying to locate someone or something that is ‘truly present.’ Is it possible that “presentness” is not locate-able?
…. just a report on the mental inquiries that this course seems to be eliciting in me :)