Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Past Exploration-Value or Vapid?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 21, 2014

TED2014_RL_DSC_4240_1920

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/opinion/brooks-going-home-again.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

 

“Historical consciousness has a fullness of paradox that future imagination cannot match. ”

“Sting’s talk was a reminder to go forward with a backward glance, to go one layer down into self and then after self-confrontation, to leap forward out of self. History is filled with revivals, led by people who were reinvigorated for the future by a reckoning with the past.”

 

“The past is the past,” Sofie, a thirty-three year old, recently divorced, mother of three says, to dismiss my inquiry into her prior relationships. So, this article about Sting hooking into his creativity through the beauty of a narrative thread, reminds me how to help Sofie to allow exploration both of her remembered past and her imagined future. Together, along with her present state of mind, all coalesce into a sense of internal stability, even in the midst of external instability. “Narrative order” are the words that Mr. Brooks uses to explain the human need to understand how their past influences their future and how their future, also influences how they view their past. Do they create a story of success over failure or a story of one failure after another. The stitching together of one’s life’s story varies with mood, current circumstance and audience. “Maybe the past, at this moment, seems so unpleasant,” I say, highlighting that Sofie’s abrupt response to my inquiry suggests that she needs to protect herself from the feelings which might arise when exploring her past relationships. At the same time, such inquiry will give her the strength to move forward during this very challenging time.

As David Brooks says,

“The person going back home has to invent a coherent tradition out of discrete moments and tease out future implications. He has to see the world with two sets of eyes: the eyes of his own childhood self and the eyes of his current adult self. He has to circle back deeper inside and see parts of himself that were more exposed then than now. No wonder the process of going home again can be so catalyzing.”

See also…http://blog.ted.com/2014/03/18/were-all-in-the-same-boat-sting-at-ted2014/

2 Responses to “Past Exploration-Value or Vapid?”

  1. Shelly said

    Most of us look at the past wistfully, at least I think so. Do people look back and say, “Look how far I’ve come and how much better my life is now?” I don’t know anyone who does. I personally look back at childhood and wish I could be there again, where adulthood and its heavy burdens seemed far away and someone else took care of me, instead of my having to do it all. On the other hand, I could never “go home again,” because my childhood home is not my home anymore. Things will never be like they were–people are gone, grown up and moved away, married or remarried, moved in or moved out, passed away, innocence has been lost.

  2. AnthonyGot said

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