the future is better than the past

24 forget his past

Here’s a case for being future-orientated in our lives.

The future saves us from fundamentalism – ‘Fundamentalism laments the absence of the time when everything was as it should be’* – with its unwillingness to explore and its insistence on a limited way of perceiving truth.

Whilst we may quickly bring to mind examples of religious or political or ethnic fundamentalism, the reality is we are all fundamentalist about something somewhere in our lives or society or culture.  Future-orientatation frees us from this and from ever saying again, “We’ve never done it this way before.”

Being future-orientated will also produce new communities, emerging out of shared rhythms of life around a common sense of purpose – in ways communities from the past cannot, which more often than not require we fit in and conform.

Focising on the future offers us the opportunity to ask better questions, to tell better stories, and to understand how failure is the fastest way to move forward when we learn and try again: ‘Failure shows us the way – by showing us what isn’t the way.’**

These three things are inextricably linked.  Questions open up more possible futures; our attempts to move towards these may fail, and fail again, but we’ll also learn fast and try again faster; and, the better stories we tell ourselves help us keep true to our goal and the obstacles we must overcome to reach it.

We know what we have been but what might we become?

(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes; his point is there has never been such a time.)
(**From Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way.)

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