its past, future determined
by its own problems
Based on essay, On the Charms of History and the Future of the Past by Aldous Huxley, published in Music At Night and other essays, including Vulgarity in Literature, by Chatto & Windus, 1931.
Mr. Huxley writes: The past and the future are functions of the present. Each generation has its private history, its own peculiar brand of prophecy.
What it shall think about past and future is determined by its own immediate problems. It will go to the past for instruction, for sympathy, for justification, for flattery.
It will look into the future for compensation for the present – into the past, too.
For even the past can become a compensatory Utopia, indistinguishable from the earthly paradises of the future, except by the fact that the heroes have historical names and flourished between known dates.
From age to age the past is recreated.
It was curious for me to take in this thought and think that past and present can be generational.
It of course makes sense that each generation sees the past and the present by their problems but by presenting the past and the present as something different for each generation, then these pasts and futures exist for the different generations together.
We live in the parallel universes of generational experience all at the same time.
The seems simplistic and oh-of-course on the surface though below the surface there is something here.
Times change and we change with the times.
But we don’t.
The times may change, but within our generation, we don’t change.
And our times co-exist and interact with the times of the previous and following generations.
And of course plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
The more we change the more we stay the same.
Everyone searching for that compensatory Utopia.
There is more here to be sure but it is too early in the morning and I have to get to work.
I am reminded of a discussion of weather forecasting that I had with my friends when I worked in the world of online television news.
We had developed the rule that the 7th day of the 7 Day forecast was always warm and sunny.
You never actually got to that 7th day …