“To look back upon things of former ages, as upon the manifold changes and conversions of several monarchies and commonwealths. We may also foresee things future, for they shall all be of the same kind; neither is it possible that they should leave the tune, or break the concert that is now begun, as it were, by those things that are now done and are now brought to pass in the world. It comes all to one therefore, whether a man be a spectator of the things of this life but forty years, or whether he see them ten thousand years together: for what shall he see more? ‘And as for those parts that came from the earth, they shall return unto the earth again; and those that came from heaven, they also shall return unto those heavenly places.’ Whether it be a mere a mere dissolution and unbinding of the manifold intricacies and entanglements of the confused atoms; or some such dispersion of the simple and incorruptible elements. With meats and drinks and divers charms, they seek to divert the channel, that they might not die. Yet must we needs endure that blast of wind that cometh from above, though we toil and labor never so much.” ~Marcus Aurelius
There is nothing wrong with remembering the past. Those who say we must completely forget the past and just deal with the present are being ridiculous. I learned to speak English in the past. If I forgot the past, I wouldn’t understand that language anymore. I learned to write in the past. If I forgot the past, I wouldn’t be able to write. I couldn’t read, walk, drive a car, etc. if I completely forgot the past. So we do need to look back, we do need to remember what we learned in the past, but without letting it limit what we can do now. But Aurelius isn’t just talking about our personal past, but historical past, looking back hundreds of years.
Foresee Things Future
What Aurelius is saying is that if we look at the past, we can predict the future because things don’t change much. What happened last century is pretty much what will happen in the next century. The details will vary, the technology will change, but human nature remains the same. So if Aurelius looked five centuries into the future and saw a world full of disease, death, war, famine, etc. is predictions would have been correct. Those things happened then as they do now. However, to suggest that it will always be so is, in my opinion, a defeatist attitude that we should not subscribe to.
Albert Einstein is credited with saying that we can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. Since the basic nature of humanity doesn’t change, neither does our thinking. At least that is the theory. But in fact, it is possible for humanity to change on a very basic level, and I believe that is starting to happen, if only to a few of us.
A New Humanity
We all basically think the same way as long as we rely exclusively on our physical faculties and our limited brain-mind that links only to lower levels of consciousness to guide us. But if we awaken our dormant spiritual faculties, that will change. The spirit has senses of its own. The spirit also has a mind called the Soul. When the Soul is awakened and developed, it can link us to higher and higher levels of consciousness. We will no longer think the same as material man with his limited consciousness. We will understand reality, we will know truth, we will see beyond the veil of illusion. So if you want to look back, look to the time when we dwelt in Heaven as beings of pure Spirit, pure Light, and work to get back to that state. Then you will be able to see a future far different from the historical past. More significantly, you will be able to help make that future a reality. So look back at materialism as a failure, and look forward to spirituality as the solution.