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We forget the past, ignore the present, and distort the future

Last week, for different reason, I spoke with several persons in high positions in their organizations, including CEOs, college professors, community leaders, and religious leaders. During the conversations, it was clear the don’t know the past, they barely understand the present, and they distort the future. Even more worrisome, they are unaware of that.

I must say that, obviously, I do the same thing regarding the past, the present, and the future. Perhaps, only perhaps, I am a little, just a little, more aware of my own ignorance of what already happened, what is happening, and what is about to happen. And I know I filter all reality through that ignorance.

Also, perhaps I am just deceiving myself thinking I am “more aware” than others about our perception of time and reality.

Whatever the case, if the person in charge of community projects know nothing about the community, the person in charge of youth programs is neither young nor connected with young people, and the person in charge of ESL classes barely knows English, you must think you are living in a psychedelic version of the Orwellian world.

Don Quixote was right when he saw giants that nobody else saw. After all, who wants to see windmills when reality is meaningless? At the very least, those imaginary giants move us to a Quixote-like action, to discover new worlds previously closed to us. But, what’s the connection between Don Quixote and ignoring the past, the present, and the future?

There is no connection, or, alternatively, everything is connected. Spanish writer Enrique Santin once said that “You remember the past. You live the present. You think the future.” Unfortunately, we are not doing anything like that.

First, we ignore the past. And what we call “past” is only the present version of what some people think happened before. In most cases, the “past” is a nostalgic reconstruction of what happened used to justify the present. Even worst, we don’t know even that distorter version of the past. We forgot the past and we forgot that we forgot.

Regarding “living the present”, our lives seem to be very similar to the undesirable monster described and anticipated by Kafka in his Metamorphosis. We have reduced “life” to be just an obsolete cog in an increasingly complex machinery. “Life” became a mere accident. In fact, that’s what many people think and feel.

Regarding the future, many people don’t realize that what they perceive to be “the future” is already happening. Based on that unrecognized ignorance, they are sure that “the future” will never arrive, because something or somebody (God, the government, big corporations) will stop it from happening. Yet, that “future” they are so sure it will never happen (artificial intelligence, for example) is already here.

Having forgotten the past, we live in a meaningless present which we want to perpetuate to recreate a past more unreal than Don Quixote’s giants, thus leaving no room in our minds, hearts, and wills to think the future.

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