The paradox of presence

Submitted by freedom on
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Despite having much too much to do, I found myself playing this silly video game yesterday. I'm not even sure how many hours I wasted. I'm not generally a gamer. I finished the game only to get that familiar feeling from the past when the boot screen flashes at the end telling me I'm welcome to go through the cycle again. Orgasm-esque, but no thanks. It's eerily analogous to daily life which we begin anew each day. Toward the end I was mostly playing to observe myself.

During the game, I was engrossed. Let's say this is total presence. Any thinking led to diminished game performance. However, this state of being engrossed makes it hard to balance other responsibilities. Would one actually want to be that present during life's daily tasks? It seems the mindfulness crowd says yes. That is an ideal state. Is that accurate or is that just the addictiveness of mindfulness/presence itself? There is still a watcher behind the present mind. Perhaps the watcher isn't powerful enough to deal with the mind in that state. That could be on aspect that can be changed through meditation.

If presence is engrossing, why do we seem to be lacking presence as a society? Or is the engrossment during gaming not presence, but perhaps something close? Or is it just a sensitively issue as with porn use in the sense that we’re inadequately engrossed by daily life and need super-stimuli such as gaming to engross us. I can readily get engrossed with projects, but not as readily by the mundanity of life. Perhaps there needs to be a conscious choice to be doing a task as a precursor for presence.

I've not gotten a complete handle on presence when there is a likely future. Take a simple example. One knows one is going to eat dinner with friends. One is hungry now. If one honors the future, one might eat less. If one honors the present, one eats what they want now. In this example, one could play mind games and honor the fact that you are honoring the present desire to save appetite for later. There still seems to be a dualism-based problem with presence as we are here only now, but can influence the future in that now.