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Présent is a French newspaper (published five days a week). It was founded in 1982. Présent's editorial line represents a traditional Catholicism. His editor is Jean Madiran.


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The present is a moment in time discernible as intermediate between past and future.

The present is the time that is associated with the events perceived directly,[1] not as a recollection or a speculation. It is often represented as a hyperplane in space-time,[2] often called now, although modern physics demonstrates that such a hyperplane can not be defined uniquely for observers in relative motion. The present may also be viewed as a duration (see specious present[3][4]).

Contents

Society and religion

Quotes
There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.

George Carlin

You shouldn't chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there.

Buddha, Bhaddekaratta Sutta[5]

What we perceive as present is the vivid fringe of memory tinged with anticipation.

Alfred North Whitehead, The Concept of Nature[6]

There's no time like the present.

Common saying

Contemporary history describes the historical timeframe that are immediately relevant to the present time and is a certain perspective of modern history.

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General overview

The present is contrasted with the past and the future. Modern physics has not yet been able to explain the perceived aspect of 'the present' as 'eliminator of possibilities' that transfers future into past. A complicating factor is that whilst a given observer would describe 'the present' as a spatial structure with zero time lapse, other observes would associate both time and space to this structure and therefore disagree on what constitutes 'the present'.

The direct experience of the present for each human is that it is what is here, now. Direct experience is of course subjective by definition yet, in this case, this same direct experience is true for all humans. For all of us, 'here' means 'where I am' and 'now' means 'when I am'. Thus, the common repeatable experience is that the present is inextricably linked to oneself.

In the time aspect, the conventional concept of 'now' is that it is some tiny point on a continuous timeline which separates past from future. It is not clear, however, that there is a universal timeline or whether, as relativity seems to indicate, the timeline is inextricably linked to the observer. Thus; is 'now' for me the same time as 'now' for you on a universal timeline, assuming a universal timeline exists? Adding to the confusion, in the physics view, there is no demonstrable reason why time should move in any one particular direction.

Adding substance to the supposition that the timeline view of 'now' may not hold the full picture, the qualities of 'now' or the 'present' in the human direct experience are very different to the qualities of past and future available through memory or anticipation. In the human direct experience, 'now' has a certain aliveness, reality and immediacy not present in our experience of past and future. Indeed, any experience is always happening 'now', even a re-living of some past event. Thus, there is a deep philosophical case for saying that the present moment is all there ever is, from moment to moment.

When comparing time in places separated by great distances, the notion of present becomes more subjective. For example, we visually perceive stars to be where they were when the light now reaching our eyes was emitted, because even though light travels at approximately 3 x 108 m/s it takes many years to reach us from distant sources. Thus, light travel time must be taken into account in such time comparisons.

When used in the term "Before Present" (BP), as used in expressing ages or dates determined by radiocarbon dating, "Present" is defined as AD 1950.

The present in Buddhism

Buddhism and many of its associated paradigms emphasize the importance of living in the present moment — being fully aware of what is happening, and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This does not mean that they encourage hedonism, but merely that through constantly focusing on one's current position in space and time (rather than future considerations, or past reminiscence) will aid one in relieving suffering. A number of meditative techniques aim to help the practiser live in the present moment.

Christianity and eternity

For some Christians God is viewed as being outside of time and from the divine perspective past, present and future are actualised in the now of eternity. Saint Thomas Aquinas used the image of a watchman, representing God, standing on a height looking down on a valley where past present and future, represented by the individuals and their actions strung out along its length, are all visible simultaneously to God.Template:Fact

Philosophy and science

Philosophical problem

"The present" raises the difficult question: "How is it that all sentient beings experience now at the same time?" There is no logical reason why this should be the case and no easy answer to the question. For example, say somebody named John is experiencing a great deal of pain. John's friend Fred takes pity on John because of John's situation. The problem is: is it logical for Fred to feel bad for John at present, when there is no way to prove that both John and Fred experience the same temporal existence? (See also Solipsism and Philosophy of mind.)

Special Relativity's "present"

s in 2D space.]] It follows from Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity that there is no such thing as absolute simultaneity. When care is taken to operationalise "the present", it follows that the events that can be labeled as "simultaneous" with a given event, can not be in direct cause-effect relationship. Such collections of events are perceived differently by different observers. Instead, when focusing on "now" as the events perceived directly, not as a recollection or a speculation, for a given observer "now" takes the form of the observer's past light cone. The light cone of a given event is objectively defined as the collection of events in causal relationship to that event, but each event has a different associated light cone. One has to conclude that in relativistic models of physics there is no place for "the present" as an absolute element of reality. Einstein phrased this as: "People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion".[7]

Eternal now

Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power of Now (1997), argues that only the present moment exists. Tolle argues that time is an illusion, and that the past exists only as a memory stored in the mind, while the future is imagined, a projection of the mind.[8]

See also

References

Citations and notes
  1. Hegeler, E. C., & Carus, P. (1890). The Monist. La Salle, Ill. [etc.]: Published by Open Court for the Hegeler Institute. page 443.
  2. Sattig, T. (2006). The language and reality of time. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Page 37.
  3. James, W. (1893). The principles of psychology. New York: H. Holt and Company. Page 609.
  4. Hodder, A. (1901). The adversaries of the sceptic; or, The specious present, a new inquiry into human knowledge. Chapter II, The Specious Present. London: S. Sonnenschein &. Pages 36 - 56.
  5. MN 131: Bhaddekaratta Sutta
  6. Whitehead, Alfred North. The Concept of Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930), p. 73
  7. Letter from Einstein to the family of his lifelong friend Michele Besso, after learning of his death, (March 1955) as quoted in Science and the Search for God'' Disturbing the Universe (1979) by Freeman Dyson Ch. 17 "A Distant Mirror" ; also quoted at Einstein's God (NPR)
  8. Tolle, Eckhart (1999). The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. New World Library. pp 36-37. ISBN 978-1577311522
General information
  • Greene, Brian, (2004). The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-41288-3
  • Stepath, Katrin, (2006). Gegenwartskonzepte., Würzburg. ISBN 3-8260-3292-6

External links


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