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Categorical Imperative

Kant’s imperative, to treat the Other not as means but as end, applies not only to people but to experience, to reality at large. “Being here now” involves embracing the moment for its potential to affect us, perhaps modifying our goals. It is not necessarily attention to the details of sensation or the physical world, nor, in Zen fashion, the chopping of wood and carrying of water. Rather, it is openness to the whole continuum of experience, including thought and feeling, in such a way that one can be affected and transformed by it. The point is not that sensation is more valid than thought, but that being moved is as important as being mover. It is an attitude of surrender or vulnerability to the Unknown behind the mask of experience. While the future is goal-oriented and distant, something one can maneuver toward and manipulate, the present moment stares one intimately in the face, like a lover whose eyes cannot be averted.

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