Current Project

Present

Etiquette dictates that this begin
with reference, a frame in which to harbor
a divergent thought.

Sunday morning, perhaps. Cloudy, wet, lush day, as well.
Sleeping clothes, New York Times ink-stained fingers, cold coffee, black mug
from Dublin. Ribs pained, scuttling currents of tortuous electricity housed between shoulder blades like nestled insects. Percocet awaits, the last of the initial prescription.

All contextual underpinning, a stage, a scaffold. All sheer trickery, a sleight of hand, a distraction.

This is about being, being now, in this conscious moment. Like a mathematical equation, my path to solution, however elegant, matters less than the answer, the gist. Context serves only to sever you from me, from my understanding becoming a universal one.

I breathe consciously, I sit rigid, my mind alert. Thoughts drift to memories, I corral them back to the present. I avoid metaphor. My present is stark, illumination.

I am.
I am at this very moment.
I will die at some present moment in the future.
I will live in all others. Patient and fearless.

I will kiss my wife when she awakes and be joyous, content in this present. I will grow restless as the sun arcs across the sky. I will plan a far off journey with utmost sincerity. All of these will be accomplished in some present space, however far in the future it remains now.

I will never be more complete than now, but I can be more comprehensive. I will never be smarter than now, but I can be wiser. I know the pinch from my watch snapping at the hair on my arm will still cause me to twitch even when I am 75. I am 33 now. A series of rotations around a sun, loops in orbit. Repeated breaths. Conscious thought. Sunrises and sunsets. A thousand chances to be perfect in this present, to achieve perfection engulfed in a balanced feeling, thought, deed.

I do not desire this perfection, do not let myself long for it.
I only know that it will come, if not today. If not now.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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