“Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again.” - Pablo Casals
I find this observation of the obvious to be both profound and inspiring. But I also know that there are a lot of pseudo-intellectuals in public life who would scornfully dismiss it, and label it tautological, or trivial, or trite—a platitude that tells us nothing we didn't already know, long ago, and that we don't need a musician to tell us. But then again, as Georg Christoph Lichtenberg said once about how critics view a longer form of the written word, "A book is a mirror. If an ape looks into it, an apostle is hardly likely to look out." We see what we're capable of seeing, and typically no more.
Philosophy is most often about digging deep into the obvious and finding the treasures that hide there. This remark by Pablo Casals reminds me to make each moment count, to seize the day, to venture boldly forth within the possibilities that each new moment affords me, and not to let any of these precious opportunities go to waste. Life can be a thrilling ride. It's a swirl of unique chances to grow and do and make a difference. Casals is certainly one who, within his own lifetime, made the most of this insight. We would all do well to follow his lead.
When someone of intellect and sensitivity draws our attention to a familiar facet of the world, it's not usually because he or she thinks we've never noticed the most superficial aspect of that thing; it's normally due to the fact that if we view it properly, it can contain within itself a spark, a goad, and an inspiration for us to enjoy.