We should focus on the present, rather than on the past. We need to become more aware of our present situation and what we’re now experiencing. This is contrary to Santayana’s dictum–“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”–and anathema to historians, the pros of the past, who would have us believe we can learn from the past/history and be much the better for it. But filling our minds with the past dulls the present, makes us stumble and fail. In McLuhan’s words, when “we look at the present through a rear view mirror . . . we march backwards into the future.”
Here’s another comment by McLuhan on the important of a focus on the present: “the favorite stance of literary man [e.g., Santayana, historians] has long been “to view with alarm” or “to point with pride,” while scrupulously ignoring what’s going on.” Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, Critical Edition, pp. 269-70.