Fandango's Provocative Question # FPQ

FPQ#41: “The past is always tense, the future perfect.”

Today’s FPQ posed by Fandango is a quote from author Zadie Smith

“The past is always tense, the future perfect.”

Fandango elaborates on this quote by saying that we sometimes have a negative perception of the past .

I beg to differ. Most people have a selective memory of the past and remember it as being better than it actually was. You can find literature full of references to this. Many people will fondly remember a carefree childhood when in actual fact it was shadowed by strict parents and tyrannical teachers. When oldies get together they reminesce over the shared pleasures of youth which are remembered as being even better as more time elapses.

This selection of good memories over bad ones that is inherent to human nature is probably a good thing. It saves us from negative introspection and from a “past tense.”

Learning from past mistakes as Fandango goes on to say is a good thing. Yet only the more circumspect are blessed with benefits from such lessons. Lesser mortals tend to make the same mistakes over and over again.

I agree, however, with the second part of the quote: the concept of “future perfect.” Most people keep on hoping for a perfect future. This is again a safety mechanism, for hope is the only thing that can keep one going in the worst conditions.

However, too much reliance on future expectations can also be bad for you. You might repeat past mistakes in the hope that they will turn out well in the future. Or you may live all your life waiting for a perfect future and neglect to enjoy or utilise your present.

The present is the place or the time where all your effort needs to be concentrated. If you take care of your present , your future will be safeguarded. Those who live and work in the present are the ones who have found the key to happiness and self fulfillment.

Let me end with my own favourite quote on the topic:

yesterday is history quote

“Yesterday is history

Tomorrow is a mystery

Today is a gift

That is why it’s called the present.”

From the Disney movie Kung fu Panda.

Most of my blog posts are written in a lighter vein. I usually steer clear of controversial topics so that my views are rarely antagonistic to those of other bloggers. Today, however, I have taken up cudgels against Fandango and have continued to defy. I hope he is not offended and treats this with the clemency that must be exercised by one who poses a provocative question.

Written for:

Fandango’s Provocative Question #41

Daily Addictions: continued

Word of the day challemnge: antagonistic

FOWC with Fandango: clemency

Image credit

12 thoughts on “FPQ#41: “The past is always tense, the future perfect.”

  1. “Today, however, I have taken up cudgels against Fandango….” The very nature of asking a provocative question is to get people respond with what they think, feel, and believe. There are no right or wrong answers, as we each see things a little differently. If I were thin skinned and easily offended, I would be foolish to ask provocative questions. So asking for clemency is not necessary. You said your piece and I found it interesting, well articulated, and thoroughly enjoyable! Bravo! 👏


      1. I think it is great that you’re sharing your point of view. And why shouldn’t you. It’s good to get into a bit of controversy once in a while.

        Liked by 1 person


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