There is no ‘Present’, its either the ‘Near Future’ or the ‘Recent Past’ – George Carlin

Time.jpg Think about it. I heard this in George Carlin’s show he did for HBO in the 80’s. And I say to myself…hey it makes sense. He brought back my thoughts on a topic close to my heart…no! not ‘time’….but ‘perception and reality‘.

So lets understand this, TIME is a concept, a man-made concept, used by man to keep track of everything. So like many other standards, like the metric system, TIME is also a concept that makes an interesting concept to think about when you are doing nothing productive. That’s why I tend to think about it too most of the ‘time’.

So what is time? Who gets to keep it? What if the time-keeper of the time loses tracks of the time? Are there a special cult of people who keeps time like the special priests? Why are there different times and time-zones if time is a man-made concept anyways? I mean, why not make it simple when you are already making it up yourself. Just imagine those poor souls in the United States, they have to keep moving an hour backwards and forwards depending where they are…and also they have to keep up with times in different seasons too. Is that why US is so much of a developed country, since they keep up with their times…(ok that was a sad thought).

As he says, there is no present. The words that we created cannot describe the present at all. Because it is the past as soon as it the ‘second‘ passes. If the world collectively decided to move a year backward, how cool it will be? We can all grow a year younger, I think most of the ladies out there will start liking governments instantaneously …wow, I just discovered an amazing way to win females, gays and metrosexual men’s votes! (though I consider the so-called metrosexual men as gay, I have made a separate mention of them for clarity purposes!)

To think of it, there are different calenders too. I have been wished Happy New Year at least 3-4 times in a single year. And each of these calenders are like ages apart from each other too. So how did they get to make their preferred calender? Can I make one? Of course we can…the trick is to get others to accept the calender too. How did they decide that the year 2000 was the end of the world? Nothing could have happened to mankind anyways since people from Kerala are way back in the year 1182 (I swear on it) so they would have taken their own sweet time to perish…just like thousands of other communities.

Time is just another topic that interests me when it comes to perception and reality. The belief of reality, our belief in what is real. The movie ‘Matrix’ questioned some beliefs in this area and it made a lot of sense. The programmed way of life that we lead and the perception of reality….its amazing! I will blabber about that later maybe…I love a dialogue in that area! So I will write more on these topics in the ‘Near Future’.



  1. I don’t completely agree with everything you just said of course there is present and of course there is a past but is there a future?The future is untouchable it is thing that easily changes.We all have patterns and memories of what had happened in the past and what is going on in the present but as much as we like to think that we can reach the future we can’t .It simply isn’t possible. People have made up time just to keep order.I’m not saying time doesn’t exist but there is a great gap in time that cannot be explained.For example when we say the word “now” we say it in the present and it soon becomes past but what about the future? The future is in a persons mind.Our plans are the future. Just the way you intend to say “now” of course you might or might not say it so we don’t know that until the present,There are always two things from everything.Everything that opposes another thing.Like a man and a woman there isn’t something in between.It is like that with time too.There is only past and present there is no future.

    • It’s not random how our calendar and current times are set up all over the world. They base it off the earth. It is based on the rotation of the sun, earth, moon. It takes 365 days of the year for the earth to completely go around the sun….it takes a month for the moon to go around us…from sunrise to sunset is 24hrs. It takes the earth 24 hrs. for it to rotates on it’s axis in a complete 360 (full circle). Then the time zones are based on when the sun rises in each part of the world….that’s when each clock starts its 24hr. time…since the sun doesn’t set at the same moment all over the the surface of the Earth, that is why there are time zones :). Our clocks are based on this system. Mornings are when the sun rises and night times are when the sun sets. Before people had invented clocks there were sun dials and people kept time based on where the sun’s Shadow would show up on the circular dial. I find all this fascinating :)! You might already know the things I just shared here. Since I wasn’t sure based on what you wrote, so I just wanted to add this info. to this thread just in case someone might not know these things and enjoy reading about it. I like the way your thinking though.

  2. Think of the present as in the “NOW” the time before the future occurs and after the past…. an exact moment in time.
    Lemme put it like this if i clap my hands and the present is the exact time my hand collide. what is this exact moment? okay lets say my hands come together at 4:20, now lets get more exact, my hands came together at 4:20 and 30 seconds, now more exact 4:20 and 30.5 seconds, more exact 4:20 and 30.55 seconds now lets get real exact 4:20 and 30.734846446466474 seconds. It can go on forever, the time my hands came together (the present) can always become more and more exact, but will never be absolutly exact. Its like in math the # pie, 3.14 its an unending number and the end will never be found, like the way you can divide one second into a million parts, then one of those parts can be divided into another million parts and so on.
    Therefore there is no present beacuse you can get infinantly closer to the present (as a time) but will never actually kno the exact time, beacuse you can be infinantly more exact…. so if theres no such thing as the present, then does the past or future exist???

  3. So it seems you are still dealing with the post in the recent past to find answers for your present time.

    Lets say in your words Expectation and Conclusion – now these are words that define a specific timeline. It has a start point and end because you defined it. So now the Expectation was set in the future which is the ‘near future’ or ‘distant future’ but then you name it Conclusion since it concludes your frame of reference.

    Now you act to achieve that ‘Conclusion’. Within your set time frame through your ‘action’. Now its up to you can have as many frames of reference within the time frame or original frame of reference for close scrutiny. Try to break time into the smallest possible pieces but finally there is always the fraction of a second that we call that passes by making all actions in the recent past or the near future.

    So in other words we are living in the past hoping to see the future, because we expect the sun to rise. But the rays of the sun reaches us 8.32 minutes (light-minutes) later. As Stephen Hawking puts it, that the sky is nothing but the the past on a dark canvas. Because all that you see there may not be there in the future since light takes that many light years to travel. So in a way we are always looking in the past for our future!

    So our actions are again an effort to achieve the Conclusion that was determined by your Expectations or in simpler words, our actions are determined in the ‘near future’ due to an action in the ‘recent past’. Now apply that logic to all your actions and you will realize that action is nothing but a pre-determined future 🙂

  4. Dude, One question
    Near Future and Recent Past looks like … Expectation and Conclusion but what about Action? With Near Future I mean I am Expecting an outcome and With recent past I achived it. But the question how and when did I achive it. My course of action has no place in Time Sheet.

  5. Well I cannot agree more….thats probably going to be my next topic….on programmability….the way we are programmed and continue to program ourselves with self-made codes and rules passed over generations….its interesting…the way of life.

  6. 🙂 Actually i was not talking about the action of putting a dot i just meant a diagram kind of thing where you have a dot that represents now. But youre right that now is how long you want it to be and so is the smallest measure of time. Its just a concept of freezing something ongoing like a snapshot. How long that snapshot is …is upto us. If you look at it recent past and near future are equally vague terms if you dont have a now. How recent and how near is also made up by us on the basis of having a moment in between called now. So the guy is not wrong but he aint right either. We humans make up a lot of stuff and then live between those rules we created

  7. Its interesting to notice the attention this post has got. Lets take your example of the pencil and the dot.
    The event of putting a dot on the time-line is an act you intend to accomplish in the near or immediate future (even though it is extremely small and future seems too distant a term). You put the dot on a paper, but did you notice, the very ‘moment’ you describe is again just a word…in mans dictionary wanting to define everything possible.

    How small can you break up time into, so that it finally represents, that exact moment, which you so much want to describe? The ‘feeling’ of now and now becomes so much alike, because you want to experience and define now.

    Of course, I am just arguing. Think again. Time is what me made it to be. So NOW is also what we make it to be. Think a little different, maybe you can then feel that NOW – right now!

  8. Intriguing post 🙂 Have you noticed the more you think about time, the more you notice how many more questions come up? Ok so maybe you cant say anything about now coz like you said the words we have take time to even be mentioned and even recalled by the brain. BUT…. there is a moment you are in or where you exist in and that moment is now. If you draw time as a line and put a point on any part of that line you can say that is now. If you thought about, did or said anything then that point has already moved like you said. But for some moment you were in a place called now even if it was only a moment no?

  9. but the moment where u say “NOW” as in N O W… is present which I belive is being ingnored .. Should I blame the government for it??
    Split the process in three parts … NOW
    before saying ‘O’ , ‘N’ Becomes recent past and ‘W’ Becomes Near Future butt wht about ‘O’. I that is in process .. it is being evolved .. I think I got your concept

  10. Ok try saying NOW aloud. But the moment you say it…there it goes. Now becomes the recent past the moment it is PAST now….similar the time before now is the future….so there is no gap my friend….think again!

  11. Hey But I still feel there is a small gap between ‘Near Future’ and the ‘Recent Past’.. it’s like two sec past this time or two sec from now … what about now??

    PS: Please pardon this techy if it makes no sense.

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