The future is the past

More of the same

How does that picture make you feel ? It's a painting, from Patrick Hughes, titled Déja Vu. In the grand non-scheme of things, we, as a species, are apparently evolving, albeit extremely slowly. And you and I ? Much to my surprise — from reading old journals I wrote while I was in high school — I haven't changed much inside. Actually, I fail to see how I have changed at all. I may only have gained a little of life know-how.

Is that a depressing thought ? It wasn't for me. As I was reading these old rants, I felt hot in the face (yes, it was close to shame, but not quite), and I was moved, seeing myself in that too-close-for-comfort ghost from the past. I kept reading on and thinking oh my God, oh my God. There are days when a seeming lack of movement forward can be discouraging, though. If I had known then that I would still struggle for another 20 years with the same issues!

But from a much larger perspective ? Things don't have to change. We don't have to go anywhere, in the absolute. (Oh, how lovely...) I don't mind seasons, cycles, éternels recommencements. How about you ?

The world out there, the one of galactic proportions, is something we can rely upon. It may be in expansion, or contracting, but to most of us it looks the same, always.

The bad news, writes Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, is that atoms are fickle and their time of devotion [to a living organism] is fleeting-fleeting [...]. Even a long human life adds up to only about 650,000 hours. (Jesus! It's still something, isn't it ?!)

Here's something I thought had changed, and I was wrong : I was already thinking about my own death at 21. Here's the big change in store for me : I will die. And there probably won't be any sort of enlightenment before my death.

So what is that picture telling you ? Here are some possible meanings for me :

  • Life is always more of the same. (Same old bullshit).
  • If we believe that we are a product of the past, we'll be served with the same.
  • Life is a road trip through the 'same' if you lift illusions of an eventful life.
  • For the rest of our life, we shouldn't be looking at the future through a rear-view mirror, walking backwards into the future.
Last edited by Caroline Schnapp about 11 years ago.


old journals

Had the same thing happen to me. What I wrote 20 yrs ago could have been written yesterday. But then I found a message I had written in my journal to myself in the future: "Hi Andrew, you're probably reading this years from now, thinging how much wiser you are than me, but we are the same. Just look at that bump on your right thumb--you and I are the same person!"
Reading that was kind of funny and scary at the same time.

Thank you for sharing that

Isn’t fascinating (yes, funny AND scary) that you spoke to your future self in that matter?

I entertain ideas that I am getting better, like some sort of wine, but I was as good as one can get A LONG TIME ago. And much of the stuff that bothered me about life, people, and my 'nature', then, still bother me now. But most importantly I am the SAME person. Different cells and biological consitution, for the most part, but the same person.

Time connections

In some ways I was an odd child. Between the ages of about 7 and ten I had a little noise that I had invented, which during the moment I was making it, all my past and future Andrew's became "connected up" at the instants they were making the same noise.
It wasn't till much later that I started reading science fiction, so I have no idea where the concept came from.

The painting makes me wanna

The painting makes me wanna veer off the road and drive on the little dots.