Escaping The Present

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

Our brains are quite literally always escaping the present and as it turns out, it’s actually for good reason.

Your brain is inherently invested in your survival, so it’s engaged in assessing risk and avoiding potential danger.

It wants to protect you and keep you alive, so certainty and predictability is always preferred.

This is where it starts getting interesting.

Your brain likes to live in the past or the future, because it can measure and label them, giving them a kind of narrative structure.

It develops stories that work as a reference point, allowing you to make greater sense of your environment, invoking that ultimate sense of control it desires.

Bottom line, your brain can grapple with the past and the future, much more effectively than it can grapple with the present.

The present unfolds in real time. It is shapeless and formless – and has no defining measure or structure, all you can do is respond to it, not control it.

In her book, Time and Despondency, Dr. Nicole Roccas, suggests:

“Since defining things through labelling and measuring is the main task of the mind, when it comes to something formless, it simply ignores it. The mind prefers to work in the past or the future; since these dimensions are both actually constructs of the minds own workings and thus the mind can control them. The present moment, however, is completely outside it’s control and therefore completely ignored..”

And herein lies the issue.

Neither the past nor the future actually exists; it’s only in the present that actual life is lived - it unfolds in each moment,