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!


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10 responses to “Tomorrows past is yesterdays future”

  1. SoundEagle says :

    The past is rooted not only in history and “our collective memories of what happened”, but is also (mis)understood, (mis)interpreted and elaborately filtered through social construction. Regarding socio-historical viewpoints, one way of looking at the problem or issue of social construction is through the works of Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas who is credited for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry (Madness and Civilization), social anthropology of medicine (The Birth of the Clinic), the human sciences (The Order of Things, The Archaeology of Knowledge, The History of Sexuality) and the prison system (Discipline and Punish).

    History, philosophy and science are not immune to the pitfalls of following the default framework, the prevailing theoretical perspective, the dominant paradigm, and the latest trend or pop ideology. On the one hand, historians and philosophers should be empirically informed by the sciences most relevant to their work. On the other hand, scientists should have at least some historical awareness and philosophical training before assuming narrow interpretations of the data that they are compiling. In short, historians, philosophers and scientists alike need to collaborate to draw accurate and responsible interpretations and conclusions. Hence, SoundEagle has always adopted a multidisciplinary approach, however difficult and challenging that approach may be(come). An example can be gleaned at, which will also cater to those who have a deeper passion or concern for history, anthropology, sociology, musicology, philosophy and environmental studies.

    • Kristian says :

      Yes, what you write has a lot of truth in it.

      When writing this post, I decided to just jot down my own thoughts (obviously, I’m influenced by others), in a way that “most people” will unddrstand. I might elaborate in another post at a later date.

      • SoundEagle says :

        Thank you, Kristian. You do express yourself very well in whatever you wrote.

      • Kristian says :

        I’m glad to hear that! I’ve had a break from this blog for a while now, but might come back to it again. And I’ll try to be a bit less “millitaristic atheist” (as my SO called me), and think a bit more before I write stuff.

      • SoundEagle says :

        You are fine as none of what you wrote has come across to me as militaristic, unless I have been missing something.

      • Kristian says :

        Yeah, I have moderated a few posts, and deleted some others, and I’m (according to her – the agnostic) worse when I speak.

      • SoundEagle says :

        Let’s hope that you will resurrect those deleted ones. Some of my readers are certainly not adverse to leaving heated debates and challenging comments on my posts and pages. Here are a couple of examples:

      • Kristian says :

        I will not resurrect any posts, but I might rewrite some of them. Those I got the most angry comments on were written when I was dead tired, or a bit drunk, so the gloves were off. I’d rather be a bit more polite, and discuss my thoughts, than to sound like a stupid besserwisser.

        The topics might be pissing people off, but I’ll keep civil. 😉

      • SoundEagle says :

        I did not realise that they were badly written in the first place. In that case, they are certainly not worth resurrecting.

      • SoundEagle says :

        Perhaps your style and/or content could be quite confronting to certain readers. In any case, I should think that if your argument is sound, rational and justifiable, then your wordings can take a bit more poetic licence to kill (or hit the jugular).

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