What is “that particular moment?“ The phrase captures my attention, not the least of which is because each word tends to deny the other. “What“ is answered by “that“ if we remove the “is.“ A “moment“ is always particular, but particular is not always a moment. “What is that particular moment?“ is a question that appears rhetorical but in the end becomes philosophical.
One might be asking, “What is that particular moment?“ with the emphasis on “that,“ as in “that instance.“ One might be asking what “that particular moment“ is. One might be asking “what is that particular moment?“ “Particular“ might be conceived of as the key modifier. It is, in fact, the only modifier. It tries to describe a moment, but isn’t every moment particular?
Language can be a game, and I am playing one now, but not simply to amuse myself. Underneath this is a conception that troubles me. I cannot seem to capture any moments. By the time I reach for the moment, it has passed. What I consider the present tense has already become the past tense. The moment I conceive of it (pardon the pun), the moment is past.
The moment past is not the present. I cannot actually reference any particular moment in reality. What I must reference is the memory of a moment gone by. If I could reference the immediate moment, it might be particular and real, but by the time I point toward it, it is past. Thus I am no longer referencing my moment but only my memory of the moment (which is rather imperfect).