Presence in the Present


'The present' only appears to exist relatively - in relation with what is past and with what is to come. It cannot have any independent existence as a 'present'.*

'Being present in the present' is a positive concept and as such must constitute bondage, whereas 'being absent from a present' is a negative concept and should constitute liberation.

Since it must be the absence of presence that perceives a 'present', to the supposedly present what is perceiving must be absent.

Therefore my 'being present in the present' is phenomenally an absence.

* A concept of a self-existing 'present' should inevitably imply noumenal intemporality, timeless non-objectivity, which could not be applicable in any phenomenal context.


No present moment could be perceived, since it must be in the 'past' before the complicated process of perception could be completed - therefore our notion of 'the present' could only exist in a 'past'.

But a 'future' and a 'past' only appear to exist in relation with a supposed 'present'. All three temporal concepts are mutually interdependent, so that there can be no basis for any of them.

The absence of a 'present' thereby implies total phenomenal absence - the existential absence of any universe whatsoever, whereas my phenomenal absence, perceiving itself as a presence in a phenomenal 'present', must necessarily be the noumenality of all phenomena.

(© T.J. Gray, 1968)

* * * * *