Deconstructing Presence

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What does it mean to be present?”

“It’s useful to ask the opposite question: (Inversion)

What does it mean to not be present?”

“Does it mean to not be in the present – that is, to be in the past or the future?”

“Being in the past or the future actually means thinking about the past or the future. 

It is possible to not be present while thinking about the present, or about things that are atemporal – ideas, for instance.”

“Does this mean thinking is the main obstacle to presence?”

“Let us think what thinking does. It makes you lose touch with your sensory experience, thus miss information coming from your senses.

Metaphorically, thinking takes up mental bandwidth; the more it takes up, the less is left for awareness.”

“Then, does not being present mean to be unaware of your sensory experience?”

“Clearly, you’re not present if you’re not aware of any information from your senses.

What if you’re aware of some sensory information? For instance, you’re aware of a sound in the environment, but unaware of your physical sensations. So you’re aware of audio information but not kinesthetic information. Are you present in this case?”

“I’m thinking some sensory information is more important. In our case, kinesthetic information is more important than audio information because it provides internal feedback. Kinesthetic information builds self-knowledge.”

“So does not being present mean being unaware of your kinesthetic sensory experience?”

“What if you’re narrowly aware of your kinesthetic sensory experience but unaware of you environment?”

“Reminds me of Michael Ashcroft’s idea of collapsed awareness. Maybe being present means expanded awareness – being aware of both your kinesthetic sensory experience and your environment.

“Something to consider.”

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About Dani Trusca

Life-Artist, Thinker, Mover (Traceur)

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