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09:00

If life isn’t lived through a lens, is it lived at all? | David Mitchell

It’s easy to moan about compulsive Instagrammers – but is ‘living in the moment’ really all that great?

Are you properly experiencing this moment? You know, making the most of it? Here you are, leafing through a Sunday newspaper, or browsing articles online on some state-of-the-art device. That’s not too shabby: “Syria, dear oh dear; Brexit, hmm; an exhibition – I shall consider attending!” This is part of who you are – you’re really doing this. You should “own it”, as they say these days, demonstrating capitalism’s colonisation of language itself.

So how can you most fully know, feel, experience and indeed project this fact, this moment that you’re in? How best to consciously, but not self-consciously, inhabit it – to immerse yourself in it, but not let it thoughtlessly pass by, as if it never happened at all, as if you never existed, your constituent carbon already earmarked for different biomass: some worms and beetles and weeds. Plus a couple of rats if you’re lucky. Or one of those forest trees that doesn’t even necessarily make a noise when it falls down.

Existing in a maelstrom of documentation, it’s easy to feel that a memory isn’t evidence enough that something happened

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