• John

Don't Don't Look Back

The past is the only possible gauge we have to judge the future.

The past is all we have to judge the future. Embrace it.

“Don’t look back” is common advice these days, common and appallingly bad. We must rely on the past.


Failure to look back ignores the things that have led to today, ignores, in fact, all of history, collectively and individually. Aren’t we told that those who do not look back at the past are condemned to repeat it?


To not look back dismisses everyone who has ever loved us or performed some act of kindness toward us: parents, siblings, spouses, teachers, friends, the old woman who lived across the street who gave us a fruity flavored frozen treat on a stick when we were sick in bed.


We are not cast anew each morning, fresh and unlived. We each have a foundation, a history, brimming with people and experience and knowledge that can help us today, that can guide us correctly, today. Yes, some things and some people in the past hurt us, but that can’t justify abandoning the past entirely.


To not look back robs us of any chance or any need to recognize or express gratitude.

To not look back at those we respect is to be selfish and arrogant far beyond the point of being foolish.


Certainly, we must look forward but it would be unwise to assume that everything and everyone in the future has our best interests at heart. We must rely on the past to help us discern truth from error today, or our behavior will be no different and our end result will be the same as it is now.


The past is the only possible gauge we have to judge the future. It would be unwise if not outright insane to assume that everything in our lives, in our pasts, the good and the bad, has no value to us now and as we move forward.

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