What is the present; is it ‘now’, or is it ‘now’. Obviously, it is neither of those because the very act of committing them to paper rendered them to the past. The ‘present’ is our only contact with reality, yet is so fleeting, we can only observe it from memory, therefore in the past. It is totally controlled by the past in as much as the events leading up to the present effect how we act in the future which immediately pass through the present in to the past where we record them.
It could be said then that the ‘present’ is so fleeting as to be non-existent. If this is so, then what makes the past that we recall? Can we affect the present? No, because it has already happened when we get there. Similarly, we cannot affect the past. Nevertheless, the things we do in the present are always recorded in the past and have an effect on the future when it becomes the present. This makes what we do in the present vitally important to what happens in the future.
Everything that is present in the present has an effect on the future. Even, say, a flower. It has no concept of the past but its presence is bound by the fact that once there was a seed that was affected by the water and the soil around it to cause it to germinate and produce a plant which in turn develops a flower. However, the flower does have a destiny in the future; maybe we might predict it will produce a seed, which will start the process over again. Can we predict this? No, supposing someone treads on it or an animal eats it before it matures. Even then, this simple piece of fauna affects the future in its own small way.
Our bodies like the flower require little from the environment only borrowing matter and returning it in another form, which in turn, is used by the other forms of life with which we share our world. We can produce progeny, make things, and destroy things if we must, but these are only rearrangements of the elements that are already there. Even the greatest and most durable of constructs eventually will crumble, or be changed into something else. The only original thing we can bequeath to the future is what goes on in our heads.
We are privileged to have a perception of the past and present, we therefore have a duty to the future. We must leave something more than the elements from which we are made. Our value to the future is beyond the tangible, we will influence it, for good or evil, because of the things we do, and more fundamentally, the thoughts we form and the history we leave behind.
So for as long as there are beings capable of perceiving past, present, good and evil, everything we, and they, do in the present, both ours and theirs, will effect the future, in some form, for better or worse.