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Neither obsession with the present nor rejecting the present are viable options

In the same way that certain people suffer from inflammation of the appendix, that is, appendicitis, many people suffer (or enjoy, as the case may be) from a metaphorical inflammation of the present, which should be called presentitis. In either case, it is a situation that, sooner or later, will literally have to be remedied.

For many, the present (frequently confused with the "now") is the only thing that exists and, therefore, they proclaim that one must live in the present and enjoy the present. Already in ancient times it was said "Let's live and eat that tomorrow we will die". This attitude, raised to the level of presentitis, causes such confinement within the present that the past and the future are forgotten.

In fact, on several occasions when I had the privilege of speaking before community groups about the new future (or emerging future) the main objection to that concept was that "the only thing that exists is the present", understanding living in the present as make the most of “the power of now”.

However, it must be said that presentitis reduces the "power of now" to enclose itself within the present and, consequently, to ignore past and future responsibilities that every person must assume and face at some point in their life. Perpetuating the present prevents opening the mind and heart to the possibilities and opportunities that the future offers.

But just as there are those so obsessed with the present that they make the present their only point of reference, there are also those who, for whatever reason, hate the present and take refuge in the past (the majority) or delude themselves with an illusory future. (Although, as my grandmother used to say, one can also live by illusions.)

According to the Argentine philosopher Tomás Abraham, the “haters of the present”, as he describes them, have always existed. They are those for whom "every time in the past was always better", those who resist all change. Also, they do not want to change. Abraham associates these haters of the present with "litanies of moralism."

But neither obsessively clinging to the present, nor totally rejecting it, allows us to live a full life. According to Abraham, hating the present (rejecting it) prevents opening the mind to "the wonders that exist and are to be found." And the same could be said of clinging to the present, although in another sense: if the present is seen as “the” great wonder, then all change is rejected.

However, everything changes. Things change. The world changes. Society changes. The universe and Earth are no longer what they were before. The accelerated political, social, and technological changes of the last century far exceed the changes in all previous human history.

For this reason, neither closing oneself within a fictitious present nor rejecting the present in the name of melancholy for the past or the illusion of the future are acceptable alternatives. So, what to do? Each one must decide for their own account.


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