Tomorrows past is yesterdays future
We, as a society, are always looking towards the future to find hope, a solution to our problems, or with excitement. But is the answer in the future? What is “the past”, and what is “the future”?
What did you do yesterday? It’s in the past, and your yesterday exsists only in your mind, as memories. As the days pass, todays yesterday will be further and further away, and it will be harder to remember exactly what took place, and when. You might remember the life-changing events, but in a week, or a month, you will have trouble remembering what you ate, or if you had a black or blue shirt on. You might remember that you went to work, spent the day making calls, and in the afternoon you had a barbeque with friends. But will you remember who you met going to work, who you called (and in what order), and what you ate at the barbeque? Maybe today, but what about in a year, when you’ve gone to work another 300 days, made several thousand more calls, and had tens of barbeques.
Will your boss, or colleagues remember yesterday the same way you do? Will your friends remember the barbeque the same way you do? The only answer is: “No! Not a chance!” The past exists only in our memories, and it’s subjective.
If you write a diary, you’ll remember better, but it will still not be correct. It will be your subjective observations, and it will only have the parts you think are worth writing down. Your best friend, spouse, or anyone other close to you will have a different view on things, and their diary will have a different entry about yesterday.
The past is history, and history is nothing more than our collective memories of what happened. Of course, archeology helps us figure out things, as do those that study history, and others, but it is impossible to go back to check if we got it right. As an example – the french revolution. If you spoke to the people as the revolution took place you would know more than if you spoke woth them a year later. If you only spoke with people who had spoken to the revolutionaries, you’d get even less information. We can’t do any of that, so we have to read books, or speak with people who have read books, and thus we miss a lot of what really happened. And the french revolution took place around the end of the 18th century. It’s not that far back!
I guess that’s why conspiracy theories exist. You can’t go back in time to find out what really happened 9/11, or at the JFK assassination (to name two), but you can “find evidence” to fit your subjective idea on what really happened.
The future on the other hand, hasn’t happened yet! Obviously. Or you can say that the future happens all the time – by being the present, and then becoming the past.
The future is abstract, an idea, and/or an expectation. I can say that I’ll be sound asleep in my bed in ten hours, and it will most likely happen. It’s not that far into the future, so there arent many factors that can mess it up. But, I might be run over by a car, my house might burn down, or – less scary – I can decide to watch two episodes of Doctor Who after work, and thus not be in bed in ten hours.
Ten hours isn’t far away, a year is. I can say that in a year, August 1st 2014, I’ll sit on a beach somewhere warm and sunny. I can plan ahead, but trying to get my vacation around then, by saving money for plane and hotel, and making sure my passport is current. But I can’t say that I will be there.
In 30 years, I’ll be 68 years old. If I survive that long. Who knows what the world will look like then. 30 years ago, in 1983 the world was very different from 2013. The USSR existed. Germany was split. Hardly anyone had cell phones or access to the net (Apranet etc). 30 years before that, in 1953, most of Europe was still strugling after the war. German soldiers captured on the eastern front were still held as prisoners of war in the USSR, etc. As you can see, a lot can happen in 30 years.
I might be a 68 year old with enough money to live comfortably, I might have been killed in a war. There is no way to know. To me, that’s the most exciting thing about the future! We just don’t know! We can predict, plan, think ahead, hope, and wait – bit we can’t know until that moment when the future is the present, going to become history.
The past is memories, the future is expectations, and the only constant is the ever changing present! It’s facinating!