So, Noura said she used to be an accountant. I wonder what that was like?
“Noura, can I just take a few zeros off my taxable income?”
“Do it! Do it! Be a risk-taker!!!”
Noura was also this week’s visitor to the Island of the Idols, where Boston Rob gave her the chance to win or lose a tribal council vote. It depended on whether she could convince her tribe to let her be the “caller” during an immunity challenge. This was a lesson in persuasion, but the only one doing the persuading was Boston Rob, because Noura accepted immediately. Didn’t even hesitate. “I don’t need to think twice!”
There seem to be two ways to define the phrase “live in the moment”. The first is to be like Noura, not heeding the consequences of the future and taking each experience as if you’ll die when it’s over. There are eloquent advocates of living at least partially this way, including Friedrich Nietzsche and William Blake (“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”).
The second definition is to be like Jamal when he was searching for idols. He said he was trying to be “fully present” in the moment. Not allowing his thoughts to distract him from his surroundings. Trying to calm the inner beast of anxiety and self-analysis so that he could fully absorb what was happening around him, and thus hopefully notice the hiding place of an immunity idol. Noura would not fall into this definition of living in the moment, because her uncontrolled emotions and delusions often blind her to the reality around her.
There is a widespread mistaken belief that the second definition of Jamal is only an “Eastern” way of looking at the world, in opposition to the “Western” point of view. However, Western philosophy has also frequently discussed the concept of being present in the moment. In the 1700s, David Hume wrote about how our ideas of the past were nothing but fallible memories, while our ideas of the future were nothing but fallible predictions. If we lived honestly, we only really had the present moment (but that was fallible to a large degree too). Other philosophers like Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant also tried to figure out what people could actually know, and their investigations largely involved zeroing in on their present states of awareness.
As a side note, many people misinterpret Descartes’s “I think therefore I am” as meaning that thinking is the reason for existence. This mistake stems from a misinterpretation of the word “therefore”. “Therefore” can mean that one thing is the reason for another thing (“I had the key, therefore I opened the door”), or it can mean that one thing is just a proof for the truth of the other (“There’s a video of me opening the door, therefore I’m the one who opened the door”). Descartes meant “therefore” in the second sense – his ability to think was a proof of his existence, not the reason that his existence was possible. He definitely believed that existence was the reason for thought.
Anyway, my advice when someone tells you that they like to “live in the moment”, is to find out which definition they’re using. Especially if they’re filing your taxes.