George Santayana’s well-known aphorism is as follows:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
It is intuitive. From our everyday lives to nation-states to civilizations, from every perspective, we all agree that it should be one of the best lessons we must remember and practice to improve our lives and seek a bright future.
Often, we hear we should focus on the here and now, not worrying about the future and regretting the past. So, can we forget about any chronological perspectives? Are these things all illusory?
We (and God), without and beyond all boundaries and spatial and temporal limits, are the One and All. Ultimately, we are timeless when and if we can forget ourselves, and God alone is in the spiritual domain. When we pray and contemplate, such stillness should be a glimpse of eternity.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.Psalm 46:10
So, can we forget about any chronological perspectives? God forbid.
We can’t, and we shouldn’t.
Our sinful flesh lives in this world on earth. That is our history. Even if our faith is not of the world, our flesh is in the world. That is why we suffer on earth. Life is suffering. That is why we pray as follows:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.Matthew 6:9-13
We sacrifice ourselves even if our faith is in heaven. Apostle Paul advises us as follows:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.Romans 12:1
We live in this world on earth, which is inevitably spatial and temporal. History is flesh as it records our mistakes and lessons from them in our selfish, sinful nature. There is room for improvement always and forever. We humbly learn from the past as we are in this world, while our faith is in heaven.
And we can practice Paul’s advice:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.Romans 12:2-3
Let’s learn from our past mistakes as our selfish, sinful nature, not repeat them. Let’s trust that we are honest, humble, and faithful enough to understand history on earth as our flesh for the lessons which need our divine sacrifice for our better future.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
Image by Andrew Serov