Focus On The Present

Updated October 31, 2020

We should focus on the present. 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 Marshall 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 importance 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.”

And here’s Philip Larkin’s poem, Next Please, telling us why it’s counterproductive to focus on the future: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-Mc5PLNAMM

About George Beam

I'm an educator and author. The perspectives that inform my interpretations of the topics of this blog are behaviorism and system analysis. Specific interests include American politics, socioeconomic issues, survey research, and effects of the Internet and attendant hard- and software. I'm Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago.
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1 Response to Focus On The Present

  1. Pingback: GEORGE’S OFFICE WALL | George Beam's Blog

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