The Timeline of Belief

Here’s how time flows: Past, Future, Present, Past.

What happened to you in the past shapes your model of how you predict the future. Your model of how you predict the future is what manifests your present actions. The results of your preset actions become what happened to you in the past.

Understanding that flow gives us a good model for how to improve the outcomes.

We predict the future not based on what exactly occurred in the past, but our view of those events. If you got in a car crash, that may shape how you perceive the safety of highway travel in the future, which affects how you live your life now. But your awareness of the truth of those events matters – if you think (incorrectly) that the crash was simply a random accident, you may be more fearful. If instead you (correctly) recognize that it was because you had bad breaks from poor maintenance, you will instead increase your diligence regarding the upkeep of your vehicle.

Truth of physical acts can be ascertained or at least accurately estimated. Truth of motivations and even destiny may be harder, but that gives you freedom.

You lost your job. Was it because the modern job market isn’t to be trusted, and so you should never put in effort again? Or was it because of something more real, something narrow that you can identify, and shift in response?

If you’re going to let the past dictate your moral predictive model, then do so in a way that motivates you, not the opposite. Don’t let the past tyrannize you into abandoning the future. Let it motivate you to create a better one.

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