It’s strange this generations infatuation with the past and future. No one wants to live now, in the present, we all want to live 200 years ago, when manners were better and your place in society clearer, or we want to live in the future, a place of high tech gadgets and no wars or crime. Yet, both ‘realities’ seem completely unrealistic. Did people in the past dream about the future? Did they think that the present couldn’t possibly be as good as the past or the future too? Many authors have tried to predict the future, but they’ve always been wrong.
We look at black and white pictures of great grandparents and long lost ancestors, and I find myself wishing pictures could talk. Was it a better life then? I wish I knew them, I wish that they could tell me about their life. Everyone else’s life seems so much interesting to your own. But did they look at paintings and wish they were born 100 years ago? Or did they hazard guesses about the future? Did they predict a time when there would be no wars or hate? Did they look back and long for the fashions of yesteryear, which would look so out of place now? Surely there isn’t much difference between being a teenager in the past and being one now? Nor will there be much difference in the teenagers of the future?
Yet as fashions and technology changes and evolves, so do thoughts and teachings. Long ago it was accepted that the earth was flat, but now we are all certain it is round. How can we be certain if something that was certain has so radically changed? If there was such a way to go backwards in time, would we see a better life? Or perhaps maybe we would want to select the bits we want from each time and put them together? The fashion, etiquette, un-ruined natural beauty of the past, with no pollution or looming skyscrapers combined with modern thoughts and ideas and discoveries, supported by futuristic medicine, exploration and solutions.
Yet in each generation, solutions are found for problems that didn’t exist in the previous one, so they couldn’t have been made sooner. Our issues in modern day society didn’t exist 200 years ago, so we as society are destroying and creating problems for ourselves, all in the hope of discovering something else about the world we live in. The energy demand, the food demand, all comes from a growing, technology driven population, of a magnitude leaders of the past couldn’t have imagined.
With all the modern issues, we look to the past for solutions and to the future for possibilities. Yet what about the present? The present is constantly ignored, overlooked and brushed aside in favor for “It used to be” and “it will be.” What happened to “it is?”
All these thoughts have come from an old black and white picture. If they could talk could they give us some answers? Could they reassure us that our thoughts are the same as theirs? And can we tell them the answer to our own question – when we are looked back on in 100, 200, 300 years, will they see an outdated, uneducated society? Or will they see an interesting, colorful one, full of new discoveries and adventures? Are our frontiers of technological advances akin to the geographical explorations of the past? And what will be left for our grandchildren’s grandchildren to find?
As we move along the time line of humanity, we want to look back and see what we don’t know. We’re here, at this point from documenting past discoveries, but what about the undocumented ones? What about daily lives that weren’t recorded? And what will happen to the over-documented lives of today? Will the World Wide Web simply delete all of the dead accounts and old information? Will we ever reach a point when virtual documentation takes over, and nothing physical no longer exists?
Will the entire human history comedown to a single memory chip, only to be destroyed in a big bang, and started all over again. How many times has this happened before? Is time a circle which will continue forever? What significance is time?
If time is what we label it, who is to say that this entire reality hasn’t happened before, and we are all just a recycled mass of repeating discoveries, thoughts and people, doomed to run the same course over and over again, always running short of the final discovery. There is no escape of reality, yet we as a society constantly attempt to revert to the past, or look forward to the future, and altogether dismiss here and now.
If pictures could talk, what would they say?