Are you a pastist, presentist or futurist?

How would you know? Are these terms related to a particular personality profile, are they something in your upbringing, in your experiences or your firm beliefs. Does your orientation depend on what happened in the past, how your present satisfies you or what is in store for you, that you know of, in the future?

Disclosure #1

I like creating new words when what’s available does not help. My spell checker has trouble with pastist and presentist. However it has no trouble what so ever with futurist. How interesting and yet it is often the ‘futurist’ time dimension that people, not familiar with the tools and applications of it, have most difficulty with.

I guess one could argue that there is already a great word for pastist = historian. However, I believe what I am talking about here is a little [or a lot, you choose] different. I see a historian as a recorder of the past. Often also a communicator of it. Previously this was mostly done by professional drafters of the official past. Today this includes the every day stream on the net on what makes up humanity’s experience of the events. Love it!

Presentism is not a word in use today either. As a concept it has increased in attention due to our ill at ease society, misery mongering or flippant happiness and joy merchants, i.e. “I feel so wonderful and joyous and grateful and…” plastered on Facebook and Twitter and so on for no particular apparent need really to be telling that. Just be it!

Each of these time orientations has a positive and a negative to it.

Pastist orientation

Positive outlook – potential negative impact

Looks upon the past as a rosy, golden and happy time. E.g. my childhood was really happy.

This could lead to being rather dismissive of what happens now and how one can bring this state about again.

Negative outlook – potential positive impact

Sees the past as a source of unhappiness in the present. Carries regrets, bitterness or sadness about things that happened in the past. Is stuck in the past.

This could lead to determination to make a change in self and circumstances.

Thoughts on possible therapy

One can of course take neither course or both. In which case one would accept that good and bad things happen. Perhaps they happen as they need to happen, not for a pre-determined reason, but rather due to the level of readiness for that change or resistance to it. In the extreme the negative outlook and resistance can lead to self-sabotage, which is not good. Acceptance can lead to a balanced approach now and for the future. It does not mean that one no longer feels anything, dismisses emotion or the learning. However, it does mean that dwelling on negative or positive events, circumstances and experiences, unless helpful and a joyous addition to ones daily life, is no longer how present and future are built.

Presentist orientation

Positive outlook – possible negative impact

Everyday one builds one’s present. Everyday one has the opportunity to make the most of it, to build something of one’s own interest or passion. Everyday is a new day to let go of anything that bothers. Everyday one can look upon the future as something one can build for and the past as something one can learn from.

One could get blinkered about what goes on around one’s daily focus on self and goals. Broadcasting one’s own interests on a daily basis to a listening or not listening audience can bring about a sense of futility to self and others. However on this I’d say, keep at it, if someone finds it interesting that’s great.

Negative outlook – possible positive impact

Another day of pointless drudgery! How can this be born? How can anyone bear the futility of it all? What’s the point? Why cannot society learn and progress? Those people have this and that so it is no wonder they have a great life.

Maybe seeds of change are launched from those with a negative outlook. Let’s face it there are things to improve on in our world. However, if the negative views do not lead to any action, then it is just talk and serves no purpose. Those who worry may be a balance for the happy-go-lucky in that their concern for things to be as they should be allow the happy-go-lucky to survive.

Thoughts on possible therapy

This is a tough one unless you, sometimes with the help of people around you, can stop the negative cycle that serves no purpose. Usually this requires some tough love from those near you. If it works it could lead to an amazing transformation and change of life. Taking control and being responsible. Check that your goals are in line with the circumstances, events, people and life you wish to have for the longer term.

Futurist orientation

Positive outlook – potential negative impact

Future has so much potential and opportunity. If we apply our resources in the right way we will be able to achieve so much. The future is there for the molding, creating and making it better. If I use some thinking tools I can get a feel for what it might be and how we might there [that’s what the professional futurists do].

We could forget that it is not always as simple as waving our magic wand.

Negative outlook – potential positive impact

It looks like future will be full of misery. Let me count the ways in future looks bleak… We have it so good today. Nothing good could possibly come out of any of the directions we’re headed to.

This could lead to alarm bells ringing. This view might actually happen. If it does, then what? Could we somehow prevent it or if not, can we prepare for it, do something?

Thoughts on possible therapy

It could be as simple as realising that we may not be able to just walk into our fairytale future. However, when we know what we want we can get closer to it, often with the help of many others, than if we don’t.

Disclosure #2

I am an optimist. If it means, as I’ve heard it defined, someone who does not give up. This does not mean that negative thoughts and bad views on some aspects of the future do not enter my sphere of thought. Nor does it mean that I never let go of things that are not helpful. I do dwell on some things too, hey no body is perfect 😉 So perhaps I would describe myself as having a positive outlook on the future – we can make things better – sometimes we just need to go to it via a crisis. I am mostly on the positive side of the present as the prospects for this year, to be a great one, are wonderful and I am keen everyday to get up and get to Hunome activities. The past has its good and bad, my childhood was happy :-), my 20s had their issues and lots of good things, my 30s were great… I’ll talk about my 40s when they are done.

I think we are just a bit of all of these depending on our circumstances – even on a daily basis our outlook can change, small things can affect us if we let them. If our tendencies take us a tad too far, each moment we are able to adjust to a more tempered position. Just don’t forget that excitement about what you are doing and how your are doing it makes the world go round. Too tempered a life may lead to very little. Enjoy!

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