The Future Is An Illusion

Here, lately, I’ve been wondering about the past. I’ve heard it repeated over and over again that you can never revisit your past. Oh, sure, you can go there, but the past is gone. When you get there it will seem like the past, but it really is the future. No, I take that back. The future doesn’t exist, so it must be today. And, today is no where near the same as yesterday.

Allow me to clarify a few things. First, the past is gone. It can never be reclaimed. You’re older, more experienced (we hope), and everything has changed. It may look and feel the same, but it (whatever the it is), too, has aged. It’s changed—maybe only a small amount, but change it has. That quarter you had in your pocket is now nothing more than a nickel and three pennies.

When I say the future doesn’t exist I mean that you will never be able to get to the future; you will never hold it, feel it, nor experience it. Nope. Not going to happen. You see, when you think you have arrived at the future you will find it is nothing more than today. It’s not dead and gone like the past. It was really never there. It’s a figment of your imagination. It’s a dream. Dream all you want about the future. It’s one dream you will never realize.

I’ve said in the past that dreams are attainable. I lied. All dreams are not attainable. Your dream of the future is the one dream you cannot get to. Oh, sure, there are elements of that dream that you’ll realize, but the overall dream of the future itself is nothing more than a dream, an unattainable dream. If you ever get to that point in the future when you believe you have reached the future, think again. You’ve done nothing more than gotten yourself to today. The future is still the future. It still lives.

Yesterday when you dreamt about the future you were doing nothing more than dreaming about today. Parts of your dream of the future found their way into today, so that when you made it to today those parts were there to greet you. You can say hello to the present (I’ve used the word today too many times, I think), but you will never be able to greet the future like you always dreamed you might.

Let’s forget about the future right now. I think we can agree that the limitations of our language prevent us from getting to the future, because by the time we’ve gotten there it has become today. What I really wanted to discuss when I started all this is the past.

Let’s use this as an example of what I’m trying to say. Say years ago I was in a relationship that meant quite a bit to me. Because of circumstances (my idiocy) that relationship fell apart. Throughout the years my thoughts have revisited that time in my life over and over again, and I’ve wondered what it would have been like if that relationship had continued. I’ll never know. Do I regret what happened? Yes. Do I regret my life, and experiences in my life, because of what happened. No. I’ve enjoyed my life, but have wondered, through the years, what my life would have been like if things had played out differently.

Let’s say I have the opportunity to reestablish that relationship from years ago. I cannot believe that things can go back to what they once were, but what I can hope for is that everything will be different in a better way. Age and experience can see to that. The major stumbling block will be the idea that nothing has changed. We all know that change is inevitable. We can only hope that the change was for the better.

I think I’ve gotten off track here, somewhere. I think what I wanted to say is that the past is dead and gone, and the future is just an unattainable illusion. I think that’s what I wanted to say. I’m pretty sure I was thinking that when I started writing, but that was in the past. And, didn’t I just say that the past is dead and gone? Yes, I did. The past is gone, never to be revisited. But, the idea I had in the past lived on. It’s still there. Well, for some of us such a thing exists. For me, I wonder. I’m of the age that when I walk into a room I forget why I wanted to step into the room in the first place. I haven’t stepped into another room, but I have progressed a couple of hundred words down the page. Same thing, I think.

I’m pretty sure that my fractured thought from the past has lived on. It’s probably even jumped into my future. I’ll have to think about that today while my future hides itself in an illusion that my mind keeps grasping at. Maybe when I arrive at my future I’ll revisit this idea with more clarity (does the future exist, or not?). Meanwhile, though, I want to get back to that relationship I mentioned earlier. Should I attempt to revisit that past once? Twice if it’s a good night? Or, should I just attempt to put that past in the past where it belongs and start over? Things will be different, but maybe they’ll be the same for one moment in the future.

Damn, I just forgot that the future is an illusion that can never be attained. Okay, how about I just close my eyes and walk blindly where today leads, hoping to get to a future that holds a moment of the past? I might give that a try sometime. First, though, I’ve got to get this idea of the past, present, and future all worked out in this addled mind of mine. I’ll let you know how that goes. Wish me luck.