What Is Present? Integral Calculus!

    Continued from part 1:

    What Is Present? Integral Calculus!

    Every question of life need not be a thought experiment. Man by nature and as seen in history is equally a product of thought and philosophy and more equally a hammered soul of raw brutality of living. Did we not see today the social fabric of human civilization as a whole has almost completely changed, completely reengineered because of an epidemic turning into a pandemic and then turning into an endemic? Did we not see a holocaust transforming a full society and a continent? Did we not see an island kingdom turning into a barren desert of dried-up lava and volcanic ash?

    Not only these but varieties more keep shaping and reshaping our present like a blacksmith or a goldsmith does to its raw materials. Once Albert Camus famously said, “To decide whether life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy… Everything else… is child’s play; we must first of all answer the question.” To address our fundamental question we have to take this hypothesis into practical gamut that it’s the tendency of our collective memory that when the present fails us we must lean forward and learn from the life-tested wisdom of the past.

    Two people bother and ponder over the questions of the worthiness of life and the values of the present that is living in the now and here. One is who has everything, power to rule over the society and the world, wealth to sustain beyond means, eagerness to create history, one who outgrows and outlives oneself. The other is one who has nothing to hold on to for everyday living and joins labor by the hour to arrange for one’s family or has nothing to lose. Both these categories of people make the whole civilization. Now, to conclude before we make a study, we can say both the categories live in the present and value it the most, either as the future of yesterday and the yesterday of the future, or in other words this present pervading and permeating either way and engulfing both past and future into itself, the all-pervading present.

    It goes as the inevitable other side of the coin that by asking the right questions one reaches the fundamental truth and that question is “What does life expect from us?” It’s not us who can ask this question to life, it is life that throws this question on our faces like gentle snowflakes or a piercing sheaf of arrows. And each individual is the one who has to answer the fundamental life questions. Our whole act of being and the essence of existing is nothing more than responding to or being responsible towards, life.  With this physical, metaphysical, practical and mental standpoint, nothing can deviate us anymore, no plausible future, no apparent lack of a future, because now the ‘present’ is everything as it holds the eternally new question of life for us.

    The question that life asks us, and in answering which we come to realize the meaning of the present moment, does not only change from moment to moment but also changes from individual to individual: the question is unique to and is entirely different in each moment for each individual.

    We do therefore see how the question as to the ‘meaning of the moment’, the question as to the ‘meaning of life’, and the question as to ‘where lies the point’ are posed too innocently. Either way, there can only be one alternative at any given moment to give meaning to life, meaning to the moment – so at any given point of time we only need to make one decision about how we must answer, but, each time, one must never forget, a very specific question is being asked to a very specific individual by those very specific coordinates of life. And there lies the point.

    This follows that life constantly offers us the possibility for the fulfillment of meaning. Hence, deductively or inductively seeing, analytically or synthetically seeing, there is always the option that life and time have a meaning. One could also say that our human existence can be made meaningful as long as we have breath and as long as we are still conscious, till we get extinct in the process of natural evolution or devolution or by manmade choices on life. We are each responsible for answering life’s questions.

    Bharadwaj Mishra
    Bharadwaj Mishra
    Bharadwaj Mishra, 1975 Odisha born, a Delhi University Post Graduate in Social Sciences, with a professional career in banking for around two decades, is engaged in creative writing and with film society. As on date he has two English poetry collections published, “Farewell To Kalpana Saikia” (Author’s Press, New Delhi) and “Bathing Ghat At Kotipalli” (Athena Books, Bhubaneswar). He has published English Essays, Poetry and Short Stories with English language magazine of Kendriya Sahitya Academy, Indian Literature and few others. He also does English subtitling for Odia language films. He is single and lives with his parents in Bhubaneswar.
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