We question where we came from, where we’re going, but seldom stop to consider where we are.
It’s not a matter of location, at least I believe that’s not what Harrison meant in “The Extra Man”.
Rather, it makes me think of progress. “Here we are. Where are we?”. How far have we come? How far have I come since yesterday? Since the last hour? Am I progressing?
We seem to have learnt to quantify progress. We measure our lives. We count the seconds and label the months. We get certificates that measure our intelligence. We categorize our achievements. But is all that progress? At the end of the day, where I am now, is it any different from where I was yesterday?
Is today different from when I was 10 years old? Sure. Today I can manage an equation and a different language. But have I made progress? Have I significantly improved my condition?
How is today’s present different from yesterday’s present? We are constantly living in the “now”, and there’s something disturbingly constant about the “now” we seem to be stuck in. Tomorrow is appealing because of its uncertainty, its unpredictability. “Now” is dull and makes me feel helpless.
Yet, the “now” can be as fascinating as the unknown that tomorrow promises. Or perhaps tomorrow doesn’t exist. Perhaps we’re forever stuck in the present and fail to realize it. Perhaps that’s the reason we don’t make any progress. We keep on waiting for tomorrow to come and neglect taking any action in the “now”.
Hm. I feel the old cynic rising up in me. Maybe nothing ever changes. I am probably walking in circles. Worse – not walking at all. I’m standing here watching planet Earth rotate and hoping that I am, somehow, going somewhere too. But maybe I’m not. Maybe, like the moon, I am stuck in space and time, watching the reflections of the Sun dictate my days and nights.
Either the “now” is too short to enjoy, or painfully long to escape.
Either way, here I am. Wherever “here” is.