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James Joyce

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There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present.
--
To Jacques Mercanton, on the structure of Ulysses, as quoted in James Joyce: The Critical Heritage (1997) by Robert H. Deming, p. 22

 
James Joyce

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The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have. The past and future have meaning because they are part of the present: a past event has existence now because you are thinking of it at this present moment, or because it influences you so that you, as a living being in the present, are that much different. The future has reality because one can bring it into his mind in the present. Past was the present at one time, and the future will be the present at some coming moment. To try to live in the "when" of the future or the "then" of the past always involves an artificiality, a separating one's self from reality; for in actuality one exists in the present. The past has meaning as it lights up the present, and the future as it makes the present richer and more profound.

 
Rollo May
 

We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its course; or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we wander in the times which are not ours, and do not think of the only one which belongs to us; and so idle are we that we dream of those times which are no more, and thoughtlessly overlook that which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us. We conceal it from our sight, because it troubles us; and if it be delightful to us, we regret to see it pass away. We try to sustain it by the future, and think of arranging matters which are not in our power, for a time which we have no certainty of reaching. Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means; the future alone is our end. So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so. 172

 
Blaise Pascal
 

The normal present connects the past and the future through limitation. Contiguity results, crystallization by means of solidification. There also exists, however, a spiritual present that identifies past and future through dissolution, and this mixture is the element, the atmosphere of the poet.

 
Novalis
 

But we can't escape into the future like we can escape into the past. So those of us who are not certain of things, and there are an awful lot of us, often rush back to the past. And each one has a particular past he prefers to the present. Sometimes I feel that any past is preferable to the present.

 
Tom Baker
 

You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it!

 
Tennessee Williams
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