Monday, March 12, 2012

Past Due

No, Mom, don't worry - my bills are being paid.

There is a reason we all study history. For centuries, societies have deemed it of necessary importance to remember the past. Explorers, leaders, heroes, tyrants, societal movements, cultures, successes, and otherwise unspeakable horrific events all have been documented to either forward the progress of humanity or forewarn of the scope and capability of evil men. History, grasped with a serious mind, can inspire and enlighten or it can frighten.

Just as studying political and cultural history provide a preparation for future events, studying one's own life history should necessarily provide a key to one's own future. I have always identified more with the school of thought that says it is more important where you are going rather than where you have been. However, what if certain events in your history held clues or keys to your future? If who we are is a collection of decades of actions, experiences, and thoughts, then it would seem appropriate to study one's own life history to come to a better understanding of, not only trends and themes, but perhaps even a model that relates to a purpose. Read any biography, and you will find clues that point to an eventual understanding of a life lived. How strange that few of these clues seem obvious in real-time to ourselves. I have always found it profoundly difficult to predict the future based upon my wants and needs. Just as dreams come to us in the night so that our brains can tell us a story, perhaps some research back into these brains will show us the right way to achieve our dreams in the light. The lesson of history surely can be found in its tendency for repetition, however more acutely, it may be evident in what's past is due.

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