15 July 2015

from Lawrence, SATURDAY (JULY & SEPT) PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Our past is our future

Dear friends,

This Saturday we are discussing: Our past is our future.

Unfortunately, I was not able to write a long essay today, but did put a
few ideas together which I am including below. But first the link to
Ruel's essay:

Hi Lawrence,
The link to the short essay I wrote on Saturday's topic is:

Thanks and all the best.

-------a few ideas from me:

Our past is our future

From a purely philosophical perspective, the first issue we come across
is a hint of determinism. The idea that the past (events) determines
future events is well engrained in our minds whether we subscribe to
causality or fate. From a psychological perspective this is further
entrenched by the fact that we think we remember our past. Maybe not
remember the past in detail but certainly we remember the key events in
our past. We might remember the day we decided what subject to study at
university, maybe the exceptional experiences we had at work or with
friends and so on.

There are also exceptional events we can point at in our life that
literally changed the course of our life. And it is these events that
persuade us that there is a clear path between our past and our present
and by extrapolation our future. However, whilst there is no denying
that certain events in our past did change the course of our life, there
are also many events that changed our life but were not part of our
life. Recessions, change of governments, new technologies and maybe a
nice cake shop that opened in our neighbourhood.

Despite what seems to be obvious path between our past and our future
there is also a flaw in our thinking. Part of the flaw is that, of
course, we have no justification to extrapolate anything into the future
from what happened in our past. Sure there are those decisive moments
and if we trained as a philosophers it will be very difficult to start
flying aircraft, but this has more to do with our sphere of influence
than some open maelstrom of causality.

And the other part of the flaw is to assume that only our past events
influence what is to come in the future. As I have argued that there are
many events that influence our future that have nothing to do with our
past. But to exclude these events from our causal biography is a serious

Maybe the function of our past is not so much to determine our future,
given that there are events that we experience independent of our life,
but rather the past is a source of learning and experience. And hence
our past determines how we act when presented with new situations in the

No one (excluding diseases of course) can take our experiences away from
us and only we are privileged to access the memories of those
experiences; in this respect we actually have an import level of
privileged knowledge. "Being there" is a different type of knowledge
from "knowing about being there". Learning is also a more relevant
function for us that can easily determine our future. And the nice thing
about knowledge is that it doesn't deteriorate and always leads to
acquiring new knowledge that we can use next time round.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h

from Lawrence, SATURDAY (JULY & SEPT) PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Our
past is our future

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