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April 15, 1968

The Very Immediate Future

Author Affiliations

Bloomington, Hawaii

JAMA. 1968;204(3):273. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140160083034

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To the Editor:—  I am so weary of incessant scientific reference to "the immediate future," a nonexistent item in my calendar.Your recent squib on the correct application of "very" inspires me to discuss the truly immediate future. If truly immediate, then there must be no middle element separating the present from the future. The genuinely "immediate" future is inseparable from the present. Shake speare somewhere exclaims that the past is prologue to the future. The present, which is identical with the immediate future, is prologue to unreality, or, the past is prologue to the immediate present. At a given moment the future is statistically a reasonable anticipation, which never quite comes into being.The immediate future is an impossibility, and therefore nonsense.