Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Clemson philosopher Todd May offers terminal reflections for the Times' "Happy Days" blog. His theme is death and the meaning of life, but the observation that we live prospectively contains an important moral as well for the subject of my TPA assignment: personal identity is not just about connecting the dots between a specious present and all its putative, psychologically continuous yesterdays.
We are, in essence, forward-looking creatures. We create our lives prospectively. We build relationships, careers, and projects that are not solely of the moment but that have a future in our vision of them. One of the reasons Eastern philosophies have developed techniques to train us to be in the moment is that that is not our natural state. We are pulled toward the future, and see the meaning of what we do now in its light.
Right up until you draw your terminal breath, in other words, "don't stop thinking about tomorrow."