Parmenides for Stoners (My Best Post Ever)

Here's what Parmenides says to a very young Socrates in Plato's dialogue, Parmenides:

...the present is always present with the one during all its being; for whenever it is it is always now.
Of course, that will sound like nonsense unless you read the whole dialogue. But another way to understand it is to watch the video below. BUT WAIT... listen: you only get one chance to do this experiment, so don't screw it up.


Click "play" and watch the video until precisely 0:27 seconds into the video--pause the video at 27 seconds. If you wait until 0:28 seconds, you'll have seen too much. Do that now, and continue reading as you've got the video paused at 27 seconds:

If you've managed this procedure correctly, you will have just heard the kid say, with obvious and growing excitement, "Okay now... okay now I..." and you will notice that his eyes are widening as if an idea has occurred to him. He is on the brink of having a breakthrough. [Here you might play a little game with yourself: what great idea do you think is occuring to the child? How will he finish his sentence: "Okay now I __________ (fill in the blank).]

When you're ready, click play. That--precisely that--is what living in the present, in the now, in the eternal kingdom of heaven looks like. It is this moment that Parmenides spent his whole life trying to describe, and it is that kind of pure presence that Plato's entire dialogue is concerned with.

Interesting, right?


Monica said...

Oh, but I heartily disagree! There is no such thing as the present, only the past and the future. For as soon as I utter the word "now" it already "then." It's no wonder that I am not the type of person who ever stops to smell the roses.

Monica said...

I meant to say "it is already 'then.'"

Casey said...

The now is now before you utter "now," and it's still now when you think it's then.

Did you hit the pause button at just the right moment? Isn't that funny?--

Monica, P.S. -- I love how both of your timestamps say 9:26 PM.

Monica said...

I did! I was quite vigilant about stopping it at exactly the right moment, and I heard it exactly as you said I would.

And, yes, I suppose I caught my typo rather quickly...all those years as an editorial assistant.

About "now"--I think I'm focusing on the act of speaking it. But, regardless, I think "now" is the epitome of what is most elusive thing we know.

Casey said...

I think so too... or at least I did when I started typing this sentence.