vineri, 23 mai 2014

Hindsight - The Promise and Peril of Looking Backward by Mark Freeman

Freeman’s book attracted me from the first sight of it. It was a mixture of curiosity with a sense that this book, implicitly its contents, is something that I need in this stage of my life. It proved out to be just that!

Hindsight is rather an essay on the problem of human reconstruction of the self through incorporating and giving meaning to past experiences. Written in a clear concise and yet philosophical style it transports you into a world of thought and guides you through the stories of other real life humans that have sought some peace with the past in order to look at the future in a more positive way. Some of the protagonists in the examples chosen, found their peace and strength to recreate themselves and to embrace the future selves in a more powerful and creative way, whilst others have become prisoners of their own past: regrets and failed expectation leaving them scarred and unable to progress.  

Human beings need to have a feeling of narrative self, the integrative part of us that is unique but as a whole represents us, becomes a part of our identity. In light of present knowledge we tend to evaluate past experiences and seek to amend them in order to create an acceptable image of ourselves. It made me think a lot about the power of our understanding and the frailties of our expectations about the future when anchored in the present and also the disappointment of the realization that, what we thought will be a sure course of our developmental trajectory did not happen. Stopping to re-evaluate our personal history can be a source of immense growth and also the crossing-point to new avenues for future enterprises. It can also be a source of regret and resentment when we realise that what we set up to do was never achieved or we perceive as failing to meet our hopes and expectations. No matter what the result will be, it is important for us to reconsider from time to time our values, our expectations, our past decisions, just to be aware of the direction I which we are heading.

I loved the book and especially the way in which I found the opportunity to think of my own journey of growth and to reconsider the expectations that I hold and how to let go of regret and of un-necessary worries about the future.