• Thanushree Anil

PRESENTISM: It is (NOT) what it is!

"You Only Live Once (YOLO)"...

"Life's Too Short"...

"No Day But Today" ...

"Que Sera Sera" ...

"C'est la vie" ...

"Seize The Day" ...

"Carpe Diem" ...

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do"...

"Now Or Never"...

"It Is What It Is"...

To all the users who use these as their bio’s on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp to appear cool and down to earth have you applied it into practicality?

The rudimentary principle hidden behind these sentences and phrases is words of encouragement to live your life to the fullest, to do what is to be done, to take exhilarating risky adventures, to life-changing decisions, to not to shy away from your potential.

We have much more than Webster’s dictionary now, so what is the term for the phenomena of “seizing the day” or “ now or never” an endless inspiration to live your life with fewer regrets.


A term that was coined around the 18th century describes what is present. This second that you live in, the thought that you are thinking, the action that you are doing, these exist. The matter of will, would, had, was, has no priority in presentism.

Fyodor Shcherbatskoy, a leading scholar of the modern era on Buddhist philosophy, has written extensively on Buddhist presentism: "Everything past is unreal, everything future is unreal, everything imagined, absent, mental... is unreal. Ultimately, real is only the present moment of physical efficiency."

To flesh it out, the view is often contrasted with two other ontological theses: an opposing view of time, eternalism; past, present, and future things exist, and an analogical view in modality, actualism; only actual things exist.


Presentism has been a factor of debate for centuries. Some of the great minds oppose it completely. According to presentism, there does not exist, Nelson Mandela, no landing on the moon and a mission to colonise the mars or getting into the uni you always wanted to go to is not even a possibility because it doesn’t even exist. What exists is now which defies all that we have learnt, we have experienced, the anticipation of the future, the examining of the past. Nothing. Just now, is what that matters.

The core meaning of presentism defies all that you experienced and all that you plan for.

Presentism is a highly conflicting topic, there are time series like the A-series and B-series.


In the time series events are used to describe in the past, present or future. For example, you are reading this article in the present, you came across this website in the past and you would close the tab after reading the article in the future. A-theorists are the ones who claim that events are ordered in future, present and past.


In B-series, time is described in relation to a particular event. For example, you came across this website before starting to read this article, you will close the tab eventually after you read the article, you would read the article after coming across the website and before closing the tab.

Adopt presentism?

Applying it in the mundane life and adopting presentism would lead to living your life without thinking of the consequences of your actions and that could be beneficial for you in the short run but the boomerang of karma would catch you back in the long run.

There are many aspects of why presentism is opposed other than the absolute fact that the future and the past could be just a myth. Come to think of it, search deep in your mind, are you sure a particular event that happened in the past is actually an information that wasn't planted, what is the guarantee that it actually happened?

The thought of someone or something exploiting our very existence is daunting, you could imagine why people oppose the idea.

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