35 . Quest for the real moment

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Life is about capturing the magic of the very moment that gives the inspiring power to forge ahead into a world of insight and understanding.

At some point, people do question the kind of life they are leading and wonder whether it is actually the life they want to live. Do they merely experience a series of 'phony' moments and a succession of fake sequences or are they actually building up an authentic life story that gives them the enrichment they have been looking forward to? Some don't know whether they are living their 'own' life or simply a life for 'other' people. Are they not playing a role on behalf of some social groups and masquerading for fear of being excluded?

In their quest for the 'real moment,' they expect to grab hold of the single instant ( Henri Cartier-Bresson would call it " a lightning instant") that feels like a journey between the past and the future, between the land they know and the land they don't know. In their pursuit, they hope to encounter that 'genuine' moment, that frail child of the fleeting time that leaves a scar in the memory.

When referring to the " involuntary memory" Marcel Proust brings us to the "essence of the past" in his novel 'À la Recherche du Temps Perdu' (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past). In daily life, some mental or optic signals unconsciously trigger remembrance of occurrences of the past. "Now" and "then" meet spontaneously without any interference of the will. Past and present are automatically associated.

Gustave Flaubert, in Madame Bovary, is well aware that one moment can be equal to an eternity: "And she felt as though she had been there, on that bench, for an eternity. For an infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space."

T.S. Eliot has always been catching the glow of each moment in his life: " "Not the intense moment, Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment."

Tennessee Williams had some problems though when trying to catch the present moment. But knowing him, he was entirely conscious of interpreting each second that was going by:" Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going."

Each flower, that Georgia O'Keeffe encountered, transformed each moment into a personal realm: " When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment."


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