Who was it that said, "The past no longer exists, the future does not yet exist; there is only the present."...
This is exactly what happens when you drop acid. No kidding.
Humans survive in their environment by constantly predicting the near future, often subconsciously "if I want to turn right here I will need to
turn the steering wheel at a point in time just this far into the near future". They also rely on past experience to guide them "I know just when and how much to turn the steering wheel because I have done this before
". Daily existence is a balancing act of constant prediction of the near future and constantly relying on history. We can't really do much about what is happening in the present other than endure it, so we survive mostly by concentrating on predicting the very near future and relying on what we have already learned in the past; we pretty much ignore the present because we have no control over it and we need to pay attention to constantly predicting the near future and constantly relying on what the past has given us, to survive.
When you drop acid, the past ceases to exist for you (your ability to regard it is impaired), and the future ceases to exist for you (same impairment). You can only regard and react to the present. This is why that experience is so profound; it is completely different than everything else we know and do. I do not recommend trying it, however. The stronger the dose, the less you can regard the past and the future. If you take enough to impair them completely, you become a quivering mass, unable to function at any level other than autonomic (respiration and heartbeat). This is sort of an indicator of how important those two processes (prediction and referral to past experience) actually are for us to survive.
Technically the present is of course the only one of the three that actually exists, making the above quoted statement sort of a "Captain Obvious" pronouncement, but we know the future will exist, which is why we need to predict it constantly (at least the very near future) and we know the past did exist, which is why we can still draw on those experiences to guide us through the present, and into the future, even though it will still only be the present for us.
It is pretty ironic that the past (relying on what we know) is important, the future (prediction of) is important, but the only one of the three that actually exists, the present, isn't really important to us at all.
Edited by TomCat, 29 January 2013 - 07:45 AM.