We were all glued to the TV watching Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams battle it out in the Women’s semifinals at the US open. I had never seen Sloane play before, rather I really didn’t know who she was till that evening. Thanks to my mother, an avid fan of Tennis who is visiting me from India, that I tuned in with the US Open this year. “How old is she? Looks so young and playing such a fabulous tennis against a veteran” I wondered and turn to my guide, Google for the answer. Google not only told me her age but also gave me a view into the future – well at least from my plane of reference. I was quite surprised to see that Google had a live scorecard of the game, refreshing every few seconds that was actually couple of points ahead than the TV.
When I shared this revelation with others in the room with excitement, first everyone disbelieved that I, perhaps was looking at things incorrectly or may be the TV box was playing the game in a delayed mode. None of that seemed to be true for a change and it appeared exciting that we knew the result of the next rally, at least for a short while. Soon that excitement disappeared into the thin air as my mother said “Can you stop looking at that? Let’s just enjoy the game!”. Everyone agreed with her. My mind paused for a moment! My mother was right, knowing the outcome was not really making the evening fun and enjoyable.
“Do I really want to know the future?” I wondered. It can help me deal with my insecurities and worries if all is good in the future. And what if the future is full of hardships and troubles? Is depression the inevitable present? How far ahead do I need to know though? If I look back, what seemed to be positive in the short run wasn’t really positive and what appeared to be negative, wasn’t really negative. Unless I know my future in its entirely, I wouldn’t really know if I should celebrate or mourn. And if one believes in reincarnation, what does ‘entirely’ really mean?
Though we wanted to know who will win the match, the excitement and surprise of each moment was a clear choice, at least to us all in the room. Would that be the case in life in general? Is it better that I don’t know the future, so I can fully enjoy the game of life in the moment? I felt like turning the evening into a philosophical discussion by posing the question to the group. I wasn’t sure if people were up for such a surprise. What if I knew how they would react? I was amused to witness the rally of my own thoughts on the two sides of the net. What was more fun, my mind game or the tennis… it was hard to say. One thing was for sure, the semifinal was definitely going to have an outcome. My mind may remain in wonderment through eternity.
Perhaps only if I can enjoy the tug a war of my mind, which is on forever, I can enjoy anything whether I know the future or not.
Human consciousness may be the most amazing and eternal fact of life worth knowing.