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Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Past Is Disguised - The Future Is Hidden

The Past Is disguised - individually and collectively we share a very selective memory.

Of the millions of things we see and experience each day we will retain the memory of just a few - and most of those memories will fade. Our subconscious parses our memories. We can program the subconscious or let chance program it. Either way those thing we remember vividly will be incomplete and will contain some factual error. As societies it is even worse.

"The winners write the history books," or re-write them. This is one reason to read old books and books written by people from other cultures. Their blind spots and ignorance will be different than our blind spots and ignorance. Seeing what they know to be true, and comparing it with what we know to be true can improve our vision.

Travel is another experience that reveals different cultural and historical views. Different is not necessarily threatening - it can be illuminating. Get off the tourist paths, mix with those that do not always share your opinions.

The Future is hidden, we do know there will be dramatic changes that surprise us.

Our natural vision of the future is that it will continue as it has recently. We ignore the huge individual and collective disruptions we see around us. If life has been good but is slowly declining - we expect it to stay good, and either slowly decline a bit more or recover slowly.

Even the study of great tragedy and wonderful success does not naturally teach us to expect the same as possible outcomes in our own lives. Earthquake and flood insurance are popular right after an event, and become increasingly neglected until the next big one. Life is not linear - no matter how much we ignore it - there will always be another unexpected event around the corner.

If the past is disguised and the future hidden, what do we really know?

We Have been told by amazing survivors and by the stupendously successful one fact over and over again. And for the most part we have ignored this fact.

What we think today, what we dwell on today, how we act today will in very large part determine how we think, consider and act tomorrow. Right now we all have the choice to concentrate on powerful and successful ideas, and to perform either shoddy or by choice quality actions. We are not inextricably shaped by our past or at the mercy of an unpredictable future.

The future resides in the choice of grip we use today. The thoughts we chose to hold, the emotions we let hold us, the acts we determine to perform - these are what will shape our actions tomorrow. Tomorrow is unknown - we only know that someday dramatic changes will come.

We can put your head down and surrender to the pretense that life will always be a repeat of the recent past. We can also charge ourselves to be ready to excel at whatever opportunity presents itself. We only have this power of preparation in our present - not in our past or our future.

The direction for the rest of our lives will be established in
the right now, and in the right now following it. It is not so difficult to concentrate on putting in a good effort for just right now. We can do that bit of good effort and follow it up with a bit more good effort in the next right now. This is really easy.

We can think, plan, reason, act, and understand as best we can for just a moment. The only real effort is overcoming
the habit of wasting moments. If we use enough of todays moments well, tomorrow's moments will be easier to use well - we will be changing our habits.

Now the real question is how much effort should we extend in-this-moment if it is the foundation of the rest of we life?

We can always, for this moment, do our best.

Why would we not want to do our best?



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