The Instigator
isthere
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
QandA
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Grounding Yourself In the Present Moment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
QandA
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,123 times Debate No: 43152
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

isthere

Pro

It is said not to live in the past nor the future, but the present. Grounding yourself in the present moment requires concentration beyond your current reality, clearing the foggy veil and seeing the truth. Logic seems to be the answer, the universal language that can turn real happiness into contaminated madness. Poisons linking yourself to your future is the fear concept. Demons of your soul, corrupting you sanity for clever lies. You don't need it. The past, a dragging sensation, stopping you form being free in the only moment of life, the present moment. After all... are you here to stay?
QandA

Con

Thank you for the debate. It is certainly nice to see a philosophical debate for once.

I am against "grounding yourself in the present moment". Of course it has some benefits and feels good at the time but I pose the question, is it really benefiting in the long run? The past and the future are just as much part of our lives as the present is. In order to grow as individuals we must learn from the past, take that lesson into the present and then make sure we follow through with that knew knowledge for the future. I always thought that the idea of grounding yourself in the present moment meant neglecting the past and future but they are all part of life. Are we really learning more from staying in the present? I think not. Over the years great minds thought up of great inventions and ideas for the future by 1) knowledge they obtained from the past, 2) conceiving the idea in the present and 3) thinking how it will benefit the future. In other words, using all three tenses of life. This is just an example of the benefits of thinking about the past and the future as well. We grow as humans from knowledge and how can we really obtain knowledge without acknowledging our mistakes? Also by thinking into the future we can not only make sure that such mistakes don't repeat themselves but we can also plan a set of goals to achieve. If we ground ourselves in the present moment then we have nothing to relive and nothing to look forwards to.

It's funny that a comment happened to quote my favourite Churchill quote. I will reiterate:

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."

Source: (http://www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org...)

To me this quote essentially means "learn from history". Basically, When you look back you see what led to the things that are happening in your life now. And when you see that, you can figure out how what your doing now will do to your future.

Churchill adopted this policy and as we all know was one of the leading minds and one of the most iconic figures in recent history.

I think this is a more rational approach to life than "grounding yourself in the present". It uses all aspects of life in a positive manner rather than just using one (the present) in a positive manner and forgetting the rest.

I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1
isthere

Pro

Living in the present moment might seem like a nihilistic philosophy, but the truth is that the present moment can be used to benefit in the future. Nihilists don't look for benefits in the future, they only seek pleasure, that's their way of life, very tiring and pointless.

The faster you take action, the faster the truth you want to benefit from can become your reality. And the only moment you can take action in is the now, the present. By taking action I mean "What you do". That is the real action you are taking for something. You can only take action if you are aware of the action you're taking, otherwise everything is automatic. You cannot approach a beautiful woman if there isn't one there and just by thinking about doing it, or simply planing, it won't help you in any way. What you think, you become. But it's not just by thinking that you become. Because what you think makes you do the things you do, which at the deep core of human nature is for selfish reasons and what you do makes you who you really are. Going back to the example. By thinking of approaching beautiful women, you become a man who thinks about approaching women. Thinking is what you do, instead of doing what you think. The reason for that is fear and fear is not present in the focused mind, a mind grounded in the present moment. Fear only exists in our thoughts of the future.

Benefiting from being grounded in the present moment can help you see what you need to do, why you need to do it and by grounding yourself in the present moment, you can control the outcome of every situation and control the reality you have influence over. But you can only influence by doing, you cannot influence by thinking of influencing. By doing that for a longer period of time, you will start to notice significant benefits in your life. That would be the "Benefit in the long run" in my opinion and the benefit is whatever you want it to be.

Living in the Present moment is not neglecting the Past and the Future, rather accepting it. What has happened cannot change and because of that unchanging quality of the Past we can always look back for answers and by doing it, we learn from it, we educate ourselves. What we are doing is not neglecting, but accepting the past.

The future is a different story, because no one knows what is going to happen. You might die tomorrow, get hit by a bus or a black hole could open and swallow our existence, but that doesn't matter, after it's gone it will remain unchangeable, It will be the Past.

The three steps you mentioned:
1. Obtaining knowledge from the past;
2. Conceiving the Idea;
3. Thinking how it will benefit you/others the future.

1. The past is our Teacher and we must obtain knowledge from it.
2. The Idea must be conceived as you said, but just conceiving the idea it isn't enough to bring it to life because to make an idea real is to bring the idea to life, by doing things (taking action) in the present moment that makes that possible.
3. That is neither here nor there, you don't have to think how something will benefit you or others in the future to do it. It's just a matter of opinion.

Tesla wouldn't have been able to bring to life his inventions simply by thinking about them, he had to take action in his present moment (What we now see as the Past). Although it is known to us now, it wasn't known to Tesla in his time, so how did he do it, how did he invent something that wasn't there before? The answer is it was always there, because everything is, humans cannot create something that doesn't exist in the universe because theoretically everything exists. The truth is it was part of the Unknown. We already know the Past is Known and the Future is Unknown. What about the Present? The Present is the Known and the Unknown together. If you see it the way I do, you will see that the present has Known and Unknown elements to it and it's how we deal and interact with those elements that determine our lives.

The Past - Known
The Present - Known and Unknown
The Future - Unknown

So by following the logic that the Past is Known, the Future is Unknown and the Present is both we can conclude that the only way to access both the Known and the Unknown is by being in the the Present where you can use the knowledge from your past to your advantage along with the pure creativity that the future inspires.
QandA

Con

My point main point of being against grounding yourself in the present was that it seemed to be ignoring the past and the future, (equally important aspects of life). It seems you agree that such a way of life is "very tiring and pointless" however that is not the way you presented it in your opening round. You presented it as if we should only regard the present, as you said:

"Poisons linking yourself to your future is the fear concept. Demons of your soul, corrupting you sanity for clever lies. You don't need it."

and,

"The past, a dragging sensation, stopping you form being free in the only moment of life, the present moment."

From this I deduced that you meant that we should only concentrate on the present and forget the rest.

Of course the present is the only time where you can take action and I am all for taking action but where can the motivation for this action come from without thinking on the past and future? We either have the motivation to take action from past failures/lessons or the desire for a better future. Again this incorporates all three tenses of life. You say that fear only exists in thoughts of the future but is a little fear not good? You are only neglecting fear on one example here, the approaching a woman one so the motivation for grounding yourself in the present can not be solely based on one example where fear would be evident otherwise. However I do argue that fear is good for us. The right amount of fear can be a powerful motivator. Doing important exams for example, is it really more beneficial to ground yourself in the present when studying for important exams? I think not, especially when it comes to motivation. If while studying for these exams you have fear of failing then that is motivating you to do well as opposed to grounding yourself in the present which is essentially just saying not to worry. This is incorporating the future as a motivator as opposed to no apparent motivation coming out of rounding yourself in the present.

To go back to your approaching a woman example, you say that what you think makes you do the things you do however there must be motivation/reasoning for every action we do, no matter how small. You have failed to give how grounding yourself in the present actually MOTIVATES a person to approach a woman. Incorporating the past and future does however. We can again only be motivated by past failures/lessons or by thinking of the future benefits of the action in question, approaching a woman in this case. You say that we would have to act on this in the present but where does this desire to act come from? For example it could either be something like (1) because I was too afraid last time but I have learned from that (past) or (2) Because it would be great to get to know this woman etc. in the future or (3) A mix of both. In the case of (3) it would be learning from the past and taking those lessons into the present for means of an improved future. Thus incorporating and using all aspects of life in a positive manner even if the past experience felt negative at the time. This is why I feel this is a superior way to life than staying in the present.

I see that you agree with me that we can learn from the past however you say,
"because of that unchanging quality of the Past we can always look back for answers and by doing it, we learn from it, we educate ourselves."
Surely looking back into the past is not grounding yourself in the present moment? What you have said here coincides more with my argument.

Also yes the future is uncertain but we shouldn't neglect it's possibilities as we don't go through life thinking that we might die tomorrow or get hit by a bus etc. We think of future often when making decisions/taking action as it is often a good motivator.

The point of the three steps I mentioned was to show the benefits of using all aspects of life rather than just the present. In that case I took an inventor's life so I will use the 3 steps coming from a much broader scale; an ordinary person going through life. I think it is much more beneficial for a person to go through life,
1. Using the past to obtain knowledge for the present.
2. Incorporating this knowledge into the present.
3. Maintaining this knowledge for the future.

In the case of a great mind such as an inventor,
an idea would have to be
1. Obtained from past knowledge.
2. Conceived in the present. (By conceived I meant put into practice).
3. Thought of how it will benefit the future.

I agree that the past is known, the future is unknown and the present is both however I fail to see the argument in this? You say that "the only way to access both the Known and the Unknown is by being in the the Present where you can use the knowledge from your past to your advantage along with the pure creativity that the future inspires." This sounds like my argument exactly. Surely reflecting on past lessons for knowledge and thinking of the future is NOT grounding yourself in the present. I don't see how using the past along with the creativity that the future inspires coincides with grounding yourself in the present. Again I reiterate that in your opening round you say:

"Poisons linking yourself to your future is the fear concept. Demons of your soul, corrupting you sanity for clever lies. You don't need it. The past, a dragging sensation, stopping you form being free in the only moment of life, the present moment."

I am not sure why you seem to be altering your apparent initial stance on the issue?
Debate Round No. 2
isthere

Pro

In the sentences you mentioned (from my first argument), in the first one I was referring to the state of living in the future, ignoring the past and the present & in the second, living in the past, ignoring the present and the future. I hope this makes my point much more clearer.

Motivation alone is not enough to take action. You can feel motivated to do something all day and still not do it. Taking action is the only action.

There is no way to peace, peace is the way - A.J. Muste.
There are not certain steps you can take achieve peace, peace just is. The same thing can be applied to my point. There is no action you have to take before you take action (do something), taking action (doing it) is the way. Motivation is nothing more than a measurement of what an individual's passion/interest is. What that person feels motivated to do represents the passion/interest of that person. But motivation only goes so far. Taking action goes beyond motivation.

Every action is measured by the depth of the sentiment from which it proceeds - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What this essentially means is that what you do is not important, but where do you come from (which sentiment) when doing it. So the reasons to take action can be endless, not just because you failed before and want to succeed, or because you want to create a better future for yourself (which are both sentiments (states of mind) you can proceed from). Maybe I feel generous and want to make a donation. That's not because of a past failure or the desire to make a better future for myself.

Going back to the Emerson quote, if you do something when you feel fearful, the sentiment you proceed from is fear. Now the question is, do you want to proceed from fear? Humans fear the unknown. The unknown is in the present and in the future. So fear in the present is very possible. But is fear good? If you stand on the edge of a cliff and you fear for your life, it's totally understandable, but if you fear failing your test, it's absolutely useless because the fear won't help you in any particular way. Fear is an evolutionary trait and it is said that all fear is inevitably connected to the fear of death. The more connections a fear has before connecting to the fear of death, the more useless that particular fear is. In the first example, you stand on the edge and you fear that you might fall and die, fear of death. That's one connection and the connection is fear of death itself. In the second example however, you fear that you will fail your test, you won't get your diploma, you won't be able to get a job, you won't have money, you will have nowhere to live and you will starve to death. Of course this was just an example so I can make my point more vivid, I managed to make six connections. You should know which number of connections you need to have before taking fear seriously. Knowing that, you should always be aware of fear, because it's there for a reason. Ignoring it would be a mistake. Feel it and in your mind, picture the outcome you fear and in your visualization you just might find the answer you need to induce calmness and defeat fear. Fear is a human emotion and it cannot be removed. But the fear you mention when doing important exams is not natural, because it persists over a longer period of time and is also known as stress. Stress is damaging for the functioning of the human brain. Grounding yourself in the present moment, feeling calm and powerful, like a tree spreading it's roots in the ground, can make your studying session much more productive. How do you think you would study better, stressed out or relaxed? How would you absorb more information?

There doesn't have to be motivation/reasoning for every action we do. There are some things we do automatically, like handshaking. Handshaking is an automatic process, you don't have to think about extending your hand, grabbing the other person's hand and then going up and down, you just do it because you've done it so many times, it's automatic. Grounding yourself in the present moment doesn't need to motivate you to approach a woman, it needs to clear away doubt and fear so you can see the reason why you would want to approach a woman (take action). So essentially, you're looking for the sentiment from which to proceed from. You don't need to motivate yourself, if you have a good reason for doing it, you will do it.

Do you motivate yourself to pay at the supermarket? No, you just do it 'cause you have to, so you can bring food at the table. Do you motivate yourself to go to the bathroom? No, you do it so you don't piss your pants. I just don't get what motivation is all about. You don't have to motivate yourself if the reason for what you need to do is pure. What I mean by "pure" is not clouded by destructive emotions, clear of all corruption. I hope you follow my poetic language. Humans in the stone age didn't motivate themselves to go out and hunt, because they knew if they don't eat, they will die. Their reason for hunting is pure, for the goal of their survival.

Grounding yourself in the present moment doesn't ignore the future. It lets you see in your deepest self, why would you want to approach a woman. It searches the reason, the meaning.

Imagine walking with a friend, having a conversation and all of a sudden, in your mind, you picture punching your friend right in that moment. That's called an impulse. The desire to act comes from impulses in out mind, ideas of ways we can act in the present and they just happen to happen in the present. By the moment the impulse finishes it becomes the past, but the time when the impulse came to mind, what you call the desire to take action was in the present moment, so the desire happens in the present moment. The same would happen if you're walking down the street and you see a beautiful lady, your natural impulse would be to approach her. An interesting fact is that cats cannot control their impulses, so whatever they think, they do. That's why they seem to be so aggressive at times. Humans however, can control their impulses.

Because of the unchanging quality of the past we can always look back for answers and by doing it, we learn from it, we educate ourselves. What I mean by this is bringing the past in our present for the purpose of learning, recalling a memory etc. It is still being in the present, only being aware that the past is unchangeable. A mistake would be going back in the past and fantasizing about changing past events instead of bringing the past into the present, being aware of it's unchanging quality and learning from it for example. It's a totally different concept. We seem to agree on this.

We seem to agree on some important aspects of this debate. I have to apologize, I was too poetic and ambiguous in my first argument.
QandA

Con

Thank you for clearing up what you meant by your round one statements but you should have initially made it that clear. I went on what you said which didn't mention the explanation in which you now give. There was no way of me knowing otherwise.

Now you say "Motivation alone is not enough to take action" however in order to complete or do out ANY action, there must be some kind of motivation behind it, no matter how small. For example (using the example you give) if you are buying groceries then there is a motivation for paying for them. This motivation often being that if you do pay for them you will have them for your home. This may seem like a non-typical association with motivation but motivation is motivation no matter how you look at it. There is a motivation for every action we do, no matter how small or petty it seems. Yes of course taking action is the only action but no matter what, you can not take action without some kind of motivation. In other words this "motivation" could also be called "future reasons for doing this action" i.e. not grounding yourself in the present per say, but more taking action in the present by thinking of the future. If you would still classify that as being grounded in the present well then that is your fault for not thoroughly explaining your position on the topic. I am going on how you have presented your meaning of "being grounded in the present".

Again it is impossible for "taking action" to go "beyond motivation" as you cannot take action without some sort of motivation behind the action. Your example against this notion actually fits perfectly into my argument. You say,

"Maybe I feel generous and want to make a donation. That's not because of a past failure or the desire to make a better future for myself."

However it is interesting that you used "making a donation" as an example. Why is this? Because there is no motivation associated with feeling generous and there must always be a motivation. Basically there are multiple reasons why you might make a donation but it cannot possibly be just because you feel generous. For example it could be because you,
A) feel generous AND want to benefit a good cause etc.
B) feel generous and will feed good if you give something back.
So you see the reason or motivation behind making a donation would most commonly be because you want to benefit others/good cause or that you will feel good/proud of yourself for donating.
I cannot see it possible that merely feeling generous would cause you to make a donation. There would have to be some kind of motivation, as well, no matter how small for making the donation.

Now when you talk about "fear"(I assume you are talking about fear in conjunction with the future) you say
"if you fear failing your test, it's absolutely useless because the fear won't help you in any particular way."
I think this is a completely subjective thing but also irrelevant to the point. Firstly just because you might say that there is no point in having fear over a test another person might say that they are going to use this fear as a motivation to study hard in order to do well. As I said, fear can be a great motivator but it's an irrelevant argument because even if fear is a negative motivation, there would still have to be some kind of future motivation for wanting to do well in such tests. I think you would study better with some kind of motivation (not grounding yourself in the present) than studying while being relaxed, at the price of having no motivation. In other words I don't see how studying relaxed, but with no real purpose, is more productive than studying with motivation, no matter what that motivation is or may be.

Again you say that there doesn't have to be a motivation for everything we do but I beg to differ. Using the example you used, a handshake, it usually consists of someone putting their hand out first. Their motivation for putting out their hand is because they want to show their respect, friendship, comradery etc. It's not like there is NO reason for a handshake. The person who then also extends their hand out to shake the other hands motivation to do so is because they want to reciprocate the respect, friendship comradery etc. I apologize if it seems as if I'm nit picking here but I am just trying to prove that there has to be a motivation for every action. Again you say:
"Grounding yourself in the present moment doesn't need to motivate you to approach a woman, it needs to clear away doubt and fear so you can see the reason why you would want to approach a woman (take action)."
If grounding yourself in the present in order to approach a woman meant clearing away doubts and fear then there would still have to be a future thought process on why you are approaching the woman. You are obviously approaching a woman for a "reason", as you say and whenever there is a reason there must be a corresponding motivation involved. For example, you could say "I'm going to approach this woman to see where things go between us" or whatever the case may be but the corresponding motivation for that is "I'm going to approach this woman because I want to see where things go between us".
With this logic, there MUST be a motivation for every action.

Taking this back to the topic at hand here, there can be little actional benefits from grounding yourself in the present compared to doing actions based on future benefits.

This is going to be my last example of how we need motivation to carry out an action as I feel I am getting the point across and do not want to be repeating myself so much that I suffer my argument because of it. You say

"Humans in the stone age didn't motivate themselves to go out and hunt, because they knew if they don't eat, they will die."

The motivation from this sentence couldn't be more obvious. They hunted BECAUSE they knew if they didn't they would die. Blatant example of motivation causing action to take place.

You keep saying that grounding yourself in the present doesn't ignore the future but could you please explain how it doesn't? I don't see how it doesn't.

Again from your last paragraph we are back to the end of the last round again. I never argued that we should fantasize about changing past events as a means for my reasoning. You acknowledge this. I merely said that we can learn from the past and my point was that how can we learn from the past if we are stuck in the present. You seem to agree with me that the past is beneficial because we can learn from it however 1) is that not essentially going against your stance on this topic? and 2) again that is not how you expressed your position on the issue in your opening round. I have been merely going by your expression of your position so far but you are saying now that that is not what you meant? If that's the case then we essentially are agreeing on one very important issue of the debate/. However I don't see how you agreeing on this goes for your stance, especially when taking your round 1 explanation into account.
Debate Round No. 3
isthere

Pro

isthere forfeited this round.
QandA

Con

Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited this round. Hopefully they will be able to continue for the last round.
Debate Round No. 4
isthere

Pro

isthere forfeited this round.
QandA

Con

I apologize on behalf of my opponent.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Sukhmeet 3 years ago
Sukhmeet
Isthere has got to make a move
Posted by trialrun 3 years ago
trialrun
I would've liked to elaborate more, but i was in a bit of a hurry to go somewhere. And I'd just like to say YAY! Con used the quote! ^^

I can't wait to see Pro's next argument, and I have to agree with Speakerfrthedead; it is a very exciting debate! Though, I'm still in agreement with Con for now :)
Posted by Speakerfrthedead 3 years ago
Speakerfrthedead
This is in exciting debate! I am on the pro's side. I really want to see how he will argue in the next round. And my own personal thoughts of why i am pro - the present is created from the moment including memory. The brain when recalling the past is doing so in the present so that just makes the present the most important fundamentally in life. I think this is what ground yourself in the moment means. To appreciate the right here and the right now and concentrate on it. That is what I believe anyway.
Posted by isthere 3 years ago
isthere
That is a powerful quote. It would be great if you could elaborate more on your understanding of it. Where should you look and what should you look for in your past? Do you consume knowledge only from the positive or negative subjective experiences and how can it help you see farther in the future? Is experience a real advantage after we've done something for the first time?

The past becomes our teacher as we constantly keep analyzing it, trying to find answers and solutions. Can information from the past really help us in the unreachable future? If something had worked in the past, it doesn't mean it's going to work in the future and it certainly doesn't mean it's going to work now.

Can we only consume real knowledge and wisdom from our past? Sometimes real experiences is what we lack, so our past doesn't even contain the potential of knowledge and wisdom we need. What about the virtual experiences we have every day? Be it watching movies or communicating in cyber space, does that world contain the answers we seek in our everyday lives and can we even see them?
Posted by trialrun 3 years ago
trialrun
This looks like it'll be a really interesting debate. I would love to argue the point of what one can learn by looking into the past, but I think I'd enjoy watching this one more.

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." -Winston Churchill
One of my favorite quotes, and I think it has to do with this topic nicely. I will definitely be watching this debate closely.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
isthereQandATied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited so he lost conduct points. Pro also conceded the very points he was supposed to be arguing for.