First times

Every moment is a first time

Martino Pietropoli

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You never know when you may be faced with a revelation. A revelation is something you don’t know you didn’t know. I’m not talking about quantum physics or how to calculate the trajectory of a rocket (I know I don’t know these things) but rather something that when you finally read it or hear it you think, “That’s right, that’s what it is. I never thought about it but it is like that.”

It happened to me at a photography exhibition. At the back of a bare room there was a small television on which the video of an interview made with ordinary people was running continuously. They were being told words or little phrases and they had to say the first thing that came to their minds. Like “Fear” and they would say what they were thinking. “Future” and on and on.

At one point a Japanese lady was offered these few words, “First time?” and she replied, “Every moment.” And in that bare room with only one small television on a wall, my brain exploded that day.

Okay, not literally: my head didn’t explode and nobody got hurt, least of all me.

What I mean is that sometimes you hear four words and you realize you are facing something unexpected and important. A revelation, indeed. A revelation hides, disguises itself as something else, you don’t recognize it right away. I could have heard those two words and not paid attention to them or thought they were just a brilliant response. Instead, I not only thought they were clever but also something more. They were the simplest and clearest definition of present time.

The present is not a reiteration of the past. The present is unrepeatable; it is unique.

We normally never think that every moment we experience is a first time. The concept of “first time” commonly contemplates an entire action and not just its beginning. There are many first times in life. The first time you walked, the first time you ate an ice cream, and the first time you kissed. They are actions, they are not moments, they are not units of time. They start with the minimum unit (the instant) and then they are composed of instants. After the beginning they evolve, mutate and, eventually, end.

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Martino Pietropoli

Architect, photographer, illustrator, writer. L’Indice Totale, The Fluxus and I Love Podcasts, co-founder @ RunLovers | -> http://www.martinopietropoli.com