surinenglish

Momentary lapse of reason

For some reason, we keep getting exhorted to "live in the moment". Social media, daily newspapers and quite a few radio programmes appear to be filled with people telling us that this would be a wise and productive thing to do. Self-appointed gurus go wild for advice of this kind and pepper their enthusiasm with words like "mindfulness" to add an air of esoteric knowledge. My mind's full of all sorts of tosh but I'm not convinced that's exactly what they're driving at.

Anyway, sorry to a be a spoilsport, but living in the moment would have to be one of the worst possible choices anyone could ever make. After all, planning for and dreaming about the future is a large part of what makes us human. Animals live in the moment and, it's no coincidence I think, that an Alsatian, a rabbit or a ginger tom never got round to planning or building anything in the style of the Taj Mahal. Goldfish also live in the moment and, pleasurable though it might be to swim in circles for twenty minutes or so thinking of precisely nothing, a whole lifetime of it would surely get a touch tedious rather rapidly for even the most tranquil of people.

Most of the beauty and wonder that humanity has brought to the world was created precisely by people who dreamed big about the future. Let's imagine Mozart living in the moment.

"Oh, E minor, that's a lovely chord! I suppose I should explore some other ones and maybe a melody to go with them but, you know what, I think I'll just stick with this one until my fingers drop off." The neighbours would have killed him.

Similarly, the idea of Churchill being on a mindful kick.

"Good Lord, Winston. They've only gone and invaded Poland. Come quickly!"

"I'll be a little while longer in the garden, my man. Good Lord, have you ever noticed how the aura of your chakras blends with the tones of nature when you're living in the moment? Mine's the colour of those rather splendid begonias over there, don't you see?"

No, I'm afraid that planning for and dreaming about the future is clearly a far more attractive proposition than living in the moment, for all kinds of reasons. Actually I'd like to write a self-help book on the subject. It'd be called Advice On Living In The Moment. Page 1: Don't. Page 2: The End.