In the physical realm, the location of our eyes on our faces allows us to see what is ahead of us but not behind us. That is in fact contrary to life’s daily reality which declares that, since we have no control or certain knowledge over the future, though we may claim to see what is ahead of us, we do not know for certain anything about it.
On the other hand, though we may not give much importance to what is behind us, we have more certainty about what has happened in the past than to what will happen in the future. We know where we come from, but we can’t truly say where we're going. Even in this technological age, we do not even know if the earth and all the political, biological, economic and digital elements that held us yesterday will hold us tomorrow. How should we then chart our way into the unknown darkness of our uncertain future?
A wise King named Solomon one time shared a remarkable observation. He said,, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10) This could be considered “intelligence” to help us navigate the dark seas ahead.
Since we can see what is behind us and there is nothing new that hasn't happened before, the best way to navigate this world is by walking forward in a backward motion. It would be physically insane and even dangerous to do so physically, but rather sane and safe to do so philosophically. As the famous quote says, “Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it!”
In actuality, most of us can testify that the charting of our daily lives is a reflection of the lessons we learned in our less educated days. As such, we do use the past, what is behind us, as a compass for the future. The lessons of the past have helped us to set boundaries to our lives which is good, but as a person or a society, problems arise when we get frustrated at the wise boundaries of the smarter people who walked this earth before us and revert to the ignorance of our past ways.
The charting of our future by our past not only keeps us safe on our way but also helps us know where we're going, as well as realise when we get there so that we’re not like the man who was aimlessly travelling. When he stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road, the lady at the cash register asked him,
“Where are you going? “
“Nowhere in particular!” he answered. She then asked,
“How will you know when you get there?”
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