Psychology Has It Backwards

Episode 94: The Past, Part 1: What Is the Past, Really?

We think about the past as “real” and important, the personal story of our life that has power over us.  Or as memories that haunt us, or delight us.  Or as the history we learn about in school.  Really, the past is just thoughts, stored in our memory.  Just images we can bring to mind.  The past is the sentence you just read.  The past is everything behind us that isn’t happening right now.  It is as easy to forget as to remember.  It is not a “thing” that we have to deal with or figure out.  It has no power except the power we give it when we bring it to mind in the present.  The power to think and our own free will gives us the capacity to bring thoughts to mind, but the thoughts themselves have no power.

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