Friday, May 05, 2006

Leave the past where it belongs

"The future is too abstract for our limited human minds to embrace," I said in an SMS I sent a friend.

No, I wasn't trying to win an award for Yodaism of the Year.

(If I were, the above sentence would read more like, "Abstract the future is; limited our human minds are to embrace it. MMMMrrrrhhmmm.")

(Yoda wouldn't say "Our human minds", now, would he? Because he's not... human?)

Anyway. How I do ramble. I just wanted to say that it's a common human error to go through life looking dreamily at the past, at all the good things and some of the not-so-good things that have happened and to wish we could go back.

I say "error" because there is just no way we can go back. So why do we wish? Because painful as it can be to look back, the past is already set. It's concrete. All the variables have been established; nothing can change. Like an embarrassing photograph of you in your 80s best, it exists as a permanent testament of what has been.

In comparison, the future is to our human consciousness a vague, ill-defined landscape, like a view of an Impressionist painting through somebody else's spectacles. We think we can make out some familiar shapes and faces. But we can't be sure. And this uncertainty is what makes us look backwards again.

If we would only take the word of the only being who can see equally clearly into both past and future, we would find the past much less fulfilling; and the future, much less frightening. As he said to people of long ago (and now, if we bother to listen),

"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth."

It's hard to face forward and believe that the future is not that foggy image we see. But unless we do so, we risk going through life with a sore back from carrying around decades of regret... and from permanently looking over our shoulders.

1 comment:

audience of one said...

I hear you alright my friend :)

Dropping a line to say hi. Usually dont check hotmail. Email me at the same address but use gmail instead yeah :)

will catch up soon


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