David D. Cain on how the person you used to be still tells you what to do:
[We tend to] view our own beliefs as if they are real knowledge. I hadn’t realized how crusty and obsolete my impression of “dance music” was. In reality, since I’d last actively considered it, the sun had risen and set four thousand times, wars had been fought, borders had been redrawn, great loves had started and ended, eras had died. Children who were five then were now driving cars, and somehow I still felt like I had a pretty clear idea of what I was missing.
When thinking about who’s in charge of your life, David’s observation take you to a whole new battlefield: Maybe it’s not your parents, not your teachers, not that guy who treated you like an asshole back in 7th grade. Maybe it’s your old You.
To be sure, that old You doesn’t have to be a bad or stupid person. But chances are that, years after you last met her, she’s a very different person than Now-You.
The next time you’re tempted to say no (or yes!) to something, put Yesteryou on hold for a second. And instead, listen to Now-You. You might be surprised by how smart she is.
And an interesting look at an adjacent problem by Jiddu Krishnamurti, sent in by a reader (Thanks, Melvin!):
Thought is response of memory, of experience, which are the conditioning influences. These influences are not only of the past but of the past in conjunction with the present. So, the past is always shadowing the present.