Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Someone mentioned that humans experience the present in six minute intervals. That is, any given moment contains about four minutes of short term memory from the immediate past mixed with a general sense of what we can expect internally and externally for approximately two minutes into the future.

This futurizing is very interesting stuff, for there are all sorts of ideas and emotions we might project onto the immediate future before we arrive there. We might psychically predetermine a negative or a positive future, a simple or a complicated one, one that brings excitement or anxiety. Of course the future doesn't contain any of these things - we conjure these adornments unconsciously in order to set a stage for ourselves so that we might find ourselves in the kind of future we vaguely expect. Perhaps the function of our present is to generate a six minute window of narrative continuity through a string of psychic environments we've spun together in the time leading up to our experience of a present moment. It follows then, that actual present remains a mystery shrouded in our comfy projections. Unless that actual, external present radically alters the storyline for us.

When ordering helium balloons the other day, Sarah and I noticed that they line each pre-inflated balloon with a strange jelly-like substance that when dried is said to fortify the balloon and make it last longer. In the same way, we too might line our imagined future with all sorts of advance notions that act as a filter or lens which makes the actual future more familiar to us when it arrives in the form of the perceived present. Does time endlessly fill a succession of psychically generated future balloons that fulfill our predestined allotment of dismay or delight?

("Tons of Balloons" by Mary Fagot)


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