kai_krause's picture
Software Pioneer; Philosopher; Author, A Realtime Literature Explorer
Software: Concepts, Artwork & Interface Design; Byteburg Research Lab above the Rhein River

I always felt, but can't prove outright: Zen is wrong. Then is right. Everything is not about the now, as in the "here and how", "living for the moment" On the contrary: I believe everything is about the before then and the back then.

It is about the anticipation of the moment and the memory of the moment, but not the moment.

In German there is a beautiful little word for it: "Vorfreude", which still is a shade different from "delight" or "pleasure" or even "anticipation". It is the "Pre-Delight", the "Before-Joy", or as a little linguistic concoction: the "ForeFun"; in a single word trying to express the relationship of time, the pleasure of waiting for the moment to arrive, the can't wait moments of elation, of hoping for some thing, some one, some event to happen.

Whether it's on a small scale like that special taste of your favorite food, waiting to see a loved one, that one moment in a piece of music, a sequence in a movie....or the larger versions: the expectation of a beautiful vacation, the birth of a baby, your acceptance of an Oscar.

We have been told by wise men, Dalais and Maharishis that it is supposedly all about those moments, to cherish the second it happens and never mind the continuance of time...

But for me, since early childhood days, I realized somehow: the beauty lies in the time before, the hope for, the waiting for, the imaginary picture painted in perfection of that instant in time. And then, once it passes, in the blink of an eye, it will be the memory which really stays with you, the reflection, the remembrance of that time. Cherish the thought..., remember how....

Nothing ever is as beautiful as its abstraction through the rose-colored glasses of anticipation...The toddlers hope for Santa Claus on Christmas eve turns out to be a fat guy with a fashion issue. Waiting for the first kiss can give you waves of emotional shivers up your spine, but when it then actually happens, it's a bunch of molecules colliding, a bit of a mess, really.  It is not the real moment that matters. In Anticipation the moment will be glorified by innocence, not knowing yet. In Remembrance the moment will be sanctified by memory filters, not knowing any more.

In the Zen version, trying to uphold the beauty of the moment in that moment is in my eyes a sad undertaking. Not so much because it can be done, all manner of techniques have been put forth how to be a happy human by mastering the art of it.  But it also implies, by definition, that all those other moments live just as much under the spotlight: the mundane, the lame, the gross, the everyday routines of dealing with life's mere mechanics.

In the Then version, it is quite the opposite: the long phases before and after last hundreds or thousands of times longer than the moment, and drown out the everyday humdrum entirely.

Bluntly put: spend your life in the eternal bliss of always having something to hope for, something to wait for, plans not realized, dreams not come true.... Make sure you have new points on the horizon, that you purposely create. And at the same time, relive your memories, uphold and cherish them, keep them alive and share them, talk about them.

Make plans and take pictures.

I have no way of proving such a lofty philosophical theory, but I greatly anticipate the moment that I might... and once I have done it, I will, most certainly, never forget.