I recently read a blog entitled “Exorcising the Haunted Past” needless to say it was excellent as usual coming from a well-known blogger. It is not so much the title I am writing about but the subject.
Our past, be it individual or that of the entire species is who and what we are to-day. As an avid reader and lover of History I spend countless hours living in the past. There are some who would argue I spend too much time in the past and that it might be a bit detrimental on me. To this I answer that I find our past fascinating for it has shaped the world and its’ people into what we are to-day. I am not maudlin about it nor do I wish that I lived in some by-gone era. Fact is I rather like the world in which I now exist. I know it has its’ problems but so did every other time in our history. In the beginning when we first left the trees and walked up right our main concern was not to be eaten as we were pretty vulnerable as far as a species went. We were neither the strongest nor the fleetest but we had one very big advantage over other animals. We had a large brain which as the eons passed grew even larger and smarter. We didn’t have the teeth nor the claws to fight back with, but then one day one of our ancestors picked up a broken branch and bashed some carnivore over the head. One dead carnivore as we had invented a weapon. Not the greatest of weapons but it was a start that millennia later would lead to the Atomic Bomb. That first weapon came about so far in our distant past that we do not even have a clue as to exactly when and where and by whom it was first used.
Perhaps the greatest invention that humanity came up with occurred some 5000 years ago in the ancient near east Mesopotamia to be precise, Writing. Everything before this marvel was and is pre-history and with this new form of communication History began in earnest. Now Political events and trade transactions could be recorded to be used as reference for those who followed. The first recorded war took place around 2700 B.C.E. between Sumer and Elam in what is now present day Iran. We know from certain clay tablets written in cuneiform who sold what amount of grain to whom and at what price. We know the name of Kings and Queens, Warrior, and traders. Where they went and with whom they either waged war or did business. We know the names of the ancient gods, their high priests and priestesses, even the names of the more prominent temple whores.
It has been said that “those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat the same mistakes”. Perhaps this is true for it is from the past that we learn and progress. The past is who and what we are and it is the stepping stone to the present and on to the future. It is how we define our place in the Universe and in the future it is how our children their children and theirs will know who we are, where we came from and where we are going. Without a past there can be no present and of course no future. If the past is haunted it is not the species past but the individuals. If an individuals’ past is haunted it is because he or she choose it to be so. We have all made mistakes or the wrong choices that is natural but to dwell on them is to live a life of regret and believe me when I say that is the dumbest thing anyone could do. A life without a past is like sitting down to eat a bowl of Maple Walnut Ice Cream without the Walnuts. So live in the present and enjoy. Remember yeaterday is the past.