Yesterday, I watched the recording of “The Medium Is The Message” with Marshall McLuhan. I highly recommend it if you have not watched it, It was recorded in 1977, but the topics he explores are still relevant today. (it is in three parts about 15 minutes each)
In one of his responses to a question from the audience, mentions looking into a “rear view mirror” and exploring the reflection of your past. We often see different choices that we could have made, not seen in the moment. The process of looking in the rear view mirror helps us to identify choices to potentially improve our future. This is also something that helps to inform my creative process and the making of the art. It is beneficial to understand where you have been, before you try to figure out where you want to go.
A few thoughts I have been pondering today, relating to this. Often when we look back at the past one of several things happen:
1. We romanticize the events, thoughts and feelings, telling ourselves that it really not that horrible, if we had done that one thing, it would have fixed everything; it would have worked. We experience that inner ping of sadness for something that was so close to being perfect… but that one tiny thing messed it up. (I think every abusive relation is based on this thinking)
2. We have walked (run) away from the wreckage taking full account of damage and the necessary actions to repair, we remember it well, we remember and describe it more dramatic than it really was in the moment, but one thing is very clear, this moment will not happen again.
3. Then I took this out of the intended context, placing it on a larger playing field, beyond the scope of the individual. Applying it to a neighborhoods, or a city, state, country. How would that look in the rear view mirror Would this help make more informed choices? Would we really be able to see what is there or would history blur reality.
I think if we live our lives to the fullest they will be full of mistakes and not so good choices. Because this is how we learn and grow. It is through these less than perfect moments that we are given the opportunity to make different / better choices. I have peered in my rear view mirror often. Watching past events growing smaller in the distance as I drive forward.
What do you see when you peek at your rear view mirror?
How does that inform your future?