Friday, July 22, 2005

Future Hindsight

Shamash posted a translation of the famous poem by Jorge Luis Borges, written as a reflection on what he'd do differently if he could live his life over again. Like Shamash says, it's got some cliches, but it's still inspiring as you think about how you want to live your own life. Good discussion in the comments, too.

I commented on one of her other posts that it's wise to use that sort of "future hindsight" to measure the value of your current days. Future hindsight sounds like a dumb oxymoron, but I love the concept. Trying to imagine how we'll look back on our lives (regrets, highlights, joys, sorrows) in old age reveals much about what we really value now -- it forces a sort of gap analysis between how we're living and how we wish we were living.

4 comments:

Stacy Brice said...

Hi, Jeremy!

Great post! I love the concept of "future hindsight," and just wrote about it on Virtualosophy, here:
http://www.virtualosophy.com/2005/07/learning_throug.html.

Just wanted you to know!

Jeremy said...

Thanks, Stacy. Oxymorons like that can have a nice jolting effect, eh? I suppose it's not much different than the "deathbed reflection" or "write your own obituary" kind of exercises...but I'm glad you gleaned some value.

shamash said...

Jeremy: I just wanted you to know that because of this entry, I added a new writing assignment to my fall classes this past year. I had my students write their own obituary, as if they had passed away at 80 years old.

They loved the exercise, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading their reflections.

Jeremy said...

Very cool! An interesting and valuable exercise for sure.

One thing I find frustrating with experiences like those is that they feel important in the moment...sort of like resolutions that you feel strongly about when you make them...but then I lapse back into old patterns and forget the important insights/intentions.