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My Philosophy On the Past

Updated: May 6

The past is the ultimate graveyard. Everything that has ever happened is there, and everything that is happening and will happen will all meet their death in the past. In addition, the older you get, the greater the past will consume you. There truly is no escape from it, regardless of who you are or how long your life expectancy is.

Think of the past as a factory grinder. It will grind down any second that has passed, and eventually, the amount of seconds will form a period which one will usually be nostalgic towards. The longer said period is, the less likely you will be able to experience that period once more. Perhaps your successors will, but not likely you.

For me, this grinding "entity" is in the form of old video games I might never be able to play again, due to how old their console is. I still hope to play a certain game once more, but as long as my beloved console is not on sale in my country, along with the games I lost, that hope might as well be futile and impractical.

The only solutions against the consumption of the past are two: achieve immortality, or invent time travel technology that will not be temporary. As long as you are immortal, there will always be a chance of regaining the past's remains; as long as you can replay a period indefinitely, you will be able to experience anything that happened in the long history that led to the present.

However, in our time, both options are in the field of science fiction. You might have a degree of control over your future, but the past cannot be altered at all, only presented differently to those who do not know it. This is true whether you are a teenager or an elder. Once a unique period has been experienced, there is no guarantee that you will be able to experience it ever again.

Think of the Jews in Nazi Germany. They had dreams and ambitions of their own, but once an unexpected point of no return was reached, both their present and futures were permanently altered, whether they survived the Holocaust or not.

It's not only about the object of experience we're talking about, it's also your reaction to it. My most beloved video game, for example, got me very immersed in its old 3D graphics. The exploration of the map, the introduction of characters... Even if I'm to ever play it again, I am certain that I'll never have the same experience I had as a child, and it doesn't matter that I'm but a young man.

There is, therefore, a certain charm in being inexperienced. Once you grow aware of its object, the charm declines over time until you see it for granted. It is an automatic process. When I moved to the countryside, I was amazed at the mountains, the clear air... It means nothing to me now, not because I chose it, but because I recognize it like one may recognize an apple.

You can't run from the past, either. You are, after all, the sum of all of it. If you believe in reincarnation, you might be the sum of hundreds or thousands of years, too. Since you cannot change it, the only healthy solution is to accept it. You could deny that some things have occurred, but the impact shall last nonetheless.

The past consumes everything and everyone, as nothing is truly eternal in its current shape. A bench might last for centuries, but remember that technically, in any given moment, a meteor could destroy the area it's in. Our planet is not like Israel to Gaza, there are no iron domes to meteor strikes, at least hypothetically.

Said bench could be, of course, demolished even without the use of meteors. It could be an earthquake, a car accident, or a removal by an authority -- that bench will be destroyed eventually, like with the lives of you and me. Nothing lasts forever, and the "blame" is for the uncertainty of existence, along with the "grinding" of all of our past experiences.

You can't cheat the past, but you can at least "live" in the form of memory. If the past is an ocean, memories are like submarines. Use them, and you will be able to traverse the many deaths of experiences. It is, ultimately, the closest thing you can have to the same experience you had in a time that used to be the present moment.

Therefore, there is some tragedy in the past, if you have lived a splendid life, just as there is relief, if you have suffered from much misfortune. Nonetheless, although there is solace in it, there will be no true return to the same, unique experience, the very "first time". Cherish the present, and your past will be more enjoyable to remember. However, do remember this -- one's excitement is another's old news. So is the cycle of experience. Don't expect to be understood by everyone, especially those who have "seen it all".

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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