forward reminiscence? part 1
“There is nothing new under the sun,” wrote King Solomon. Three thousand years later, these words still ring true. Sure, we’ve seen some amazing breakthroughs in science and technology. But Solomon was talking about human behaviour, social patterns and cycles of history. Yes, history repeats itself. We are in one big cosmic Déjà vu (which means “already seen”). We keep doing the same things over and over again, and often expecting different results. Einstein described this as the very definition of “insanity.” So, why don’t we seem to learn from those who’ve gone before us?
I’ve seen this kind of thing happening in my own life. When I was a child, my dad was a super hero. See him in his super suit:
Something happened in my teens and twenties. I suddenly became smarter than Dad. I thought I knew better. The world had changed and Dad was “old school.” For the better part of a decade my father watched me make numerous mistakes that caused me much pain. Talking to him now, he knew the path that my choices would take me down. He’d seen it before. He made some of those same mistakes. He tried to warn me, but I made it obvious that I wouldn’t be listening. Remember, I knew better.
Then something happened. I turned 30. I remember the moment that Dad become “superman” again. I was having lunch with him one day when it hit me. He noticed my curious expression, tilted head, furrowed brow, and mouth wide open, looking as though I was in shock. “Wow Dad, you’re smart!” Overnight, my father became a “sage.” I realized that I could learn from his experiences and personal history. Even what he saw as his “past failures” where useful to me, showing me what could happen if I took certain steps.
I guess I’m describing a stance that is common to humanity. There’s this independence in us. “I know better. Don’t tell me what to do. Let me make my own mistakes. What do you know? I want to see it for myself!” Then, often through painful experiences, we start to open up. We start to look around and ask questions. We start to wonder if the answer is out there.
Well, my perspective has grown to not only learn from my father but to learn from all those who’ve gone before us. This is part of what I mean when I say “forward reminiscence.” I’m interested in looking back at yesterday, to make informed choices today, that will create a better tomorrow.
I leave you now with this Buddhist proverb, but will post more on this very soon.
“If you want to know your past,
look at your present conditions.
If you want to know your future,
look into your present actions.”