Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards?

Topic #273:

Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards? This is something the philosopher Kikergard pointed out long ago.

Do you agree? If you do, isn’t this odd? It seems we’re likely to make many mistakes in basing our future, which is forward thinking, entirely on the past, which is looking backwards.

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  1. Trying to live in an A.A. philosophy of “one day at a time,” this is an interesting question… I’ll go with a comment from a crusty old guy in my Home Group: “If you live with one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you’re pissing all over today.” A little crass, but very much to the point. πŸ˜‰

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  2. I agree. No. This is not odd. This is a stereotype to me. When I came across this stage in life, I volunteered my days to answer this question. An answer came to my mind which was limitation of human mind and age. Simply, this is how a human being spends his seconds on understanding the life!

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  3. Psychologists say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior; so this POV does have a corollary in current behavioral scientific thought (for whatever that’s worth to folks). πŸ˜‰

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  4. We live life backwards and forward. Living life backwards means only the our past is our present. Eric Erickson stated in his Life theory of development, that we need to resolve the mistakes, challenges of the past, in order to move forward to the next developmental stage.

    I agree with a lot of that, but it also can be translated another way: a
    growing person is comfortable with his/her past as they move forward to live life as God wanted us to do on that particular day.

    We can have dreams, but we only achieve them or not, by the steps that we take to achieve them, while living our lives fully now.

    Living, helping another, can mean something as simple as smiling at another person,especially at others who may be downcast, given their demeanor. Anyway, a smile not only lifts our spirits, but can have an impact on another that we will never know about. Or how about just greeting
    another person. Live life now, that is all we have. The future will be there as we live.

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  5. What he actually said seems to have come from one of his journals, that was distilled down, I know not how or by whom, to the actual quote referenced in an earlier reply. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard has both: the longer journal entry is above the shorter variant (which is given in bold).
    What he actually means is a much thornier question, but I don’t think he meant that we do base our future, or even should base our future entirely on our past. Rather, it seems to me in my own simplistic understanding, he meant that we can never rest secure in our own appraisal of our future, because we must live it as it happens and can’t hope to understand it before it happens.
    A very interesting topic. I have put off delving into his works because he has always had for me an intimidating and daunting appearance. Can anyone who has read or is familiar with his work recommend a good place for me to start an exploration of his thoughts?

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  6. It takes a great deal of perspective to understand the events of our lives…..at different times and places in our lives, we might not have the context to fully understand something until many years later. The wisdom of an adult mind for instance is needed to makes sense of our childhoods.

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  7. I absolutely agree that we live our lives forward but examine it backwards, and that is how it should and must be. It is only by examining the results of past actions that we can dare hope to even remotely have some notion of how to act in the future. Certain things will forever be beyond our control, and we can only learn from our past experiences or the past experiences of others to hopefully find new ways to deal with similar circumstances as they arise, often unforeseen, out of the ever-cloudy future. Someone who ignores the past is foolish as they learn nothing from the failures and successes of those who have gone before or in some cases, even themselves, and are thereby doomed to perpetually make the same mistakes over and over. If we examine the past and learn from it as we should, then we can proceed forward less blindly, and hopefully only make new mistakes. It is in this cycle of learning from the past and applying that knowledge as necessary in the future that true progress can be achieved.

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  8. They say, make friends with the past so that it won’t mess up your future.A quote that I’ve encountered in the past.
    I agree with what philosopher Kikergard pointed out long ago because there are a lot of things that we learned from our past which is based on our experiences. Mistakes will be minimized since we already know the consequences of some decisions that we made from the past.

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  9. This is pretty deep for me, considering I’ve spent most of this Sunday drinking Hard Mike’s and watching football.

    That said, I think I tend to live life in neutral, slowly rolling downhill, while spending far too much time with my eyes on the rearview mirror.

    That really doesn’t answer the question, does it?

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  10. The philosophy holds true with a backing that ‘we learn from our past mistakes’ – plus if we wish to make our ‘forward looking ideas’ possible, lessons of past pursuits should be acknowledge.

    I follow this mantra in my own growth.

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  11. Hi Scott:

    Not quite sure if I have a valid argument here but if we live forwards then we examine backwards, then we live at the present because if we have to examine our past backwards and live our life forwards then we are living in the present, so we live present-wards (haha)…

    Have a great day to one and all… πŸ™‚

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  12. My direction is a double spiral. I can speak only for myself. In leading an examined life I do live life within a double spiral. Always forward but reflecting backward, looking at tweaking, adjusting so that my present actions are proactive rather than reactive. That I move gracefully forward in gratitude, optimism, and humor is a tribute to learning from that which has come before.

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  13. yes, i do believe in living forward but always step a few steps backwards to analyse things and correct some mistakes so that we may not pass that same mistake twice. but occasionally we end up making same mistakes hundred times and never learn from the past.

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  14. In the past, when a warrior was victorious in a one-on-one sword battle, the number of battles won granted him status and respect from mere peons. But if he lost a battle but survived that one, he would learn from it and improved his swordsmanship by increasing his battles more and more.

    When a new battle confronted him once more in the field of inevitable death, only the past battles provided him guidance and much experiences thus foreseeing whether he should survive or met his death, facing the lonely earth underground.

    Now in this modern era, the number of challenges and difficulties we face each day teaches us whether yesterday’s or last month’s mistakes have any connection with our present situation. We need to turn our head around and learn from our past life as a reference for our current self in preventing those past mistakes to continuing putting misery in to our future self.

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  15. A quote in our school library says that “Life … can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” Past experiences often shape what I think and feel. If they were negative, I try not to dwell on the past because that would limit me in the future. But they do influence my decisions. That’s what experience is for to teach you how to avoid similar pitfalls.

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  16. Actually terminology in this case is very important, according to the Unification Thought it should be like this: Horizontal and Vertical-Foward and Backwards, the 4 position foundation-and a four position in each position, and so on until the ORIGIN which is the IDEA, which is the LOGOS, which is the Original Image, which is GOD.

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  17. It is the Principle of Creation, which has been considered by many philosophers, the Principle of Restoration, because the principle unprincipled called: the Contradictory nature, making us backwards looking for the past mistakes.

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  18. I look forward to my future each day. I anticipate it, yet I fear. I look at all of my past mistakes and find my days to come being consumed of worrying and doubting. I tell myself to live and look at the bright side. But how can I do so, when all of my current worries are crowding my mind?

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