Author Darlene Roth presents seven succinct relationships we have with what we call the past, which keep the past alive for us.

Summer 2013 cover

Briefly, they are as follows:

  1. We need the past. This is how we tell “time.”
  2. We live in the past—physically, literally, though not necessarily mentally.
  3. We love the past. Sometimes we simply love to hate it.
  4. We create the past. It is a construct of our imaginations, memories, and material collections.
  5. The past lives in us—as imprinted in our DNA as much as in traditions, family backgrounds, cultural patterns, habits, and more.
  6. We learn from the past. (Or, we can learn from the past if we make its presence conscious.)
  7. The future has use for the past; we create future memories for others and ourselves out of past events.

Roth discusses briefly each of the relationships.

Key Takeaway Messages:

  1. The past is more malleable than we tend to believe.
  2. History and the past are inextricably related but they are not synonymous.
  3. We are constantly creating past, present, and future.

Questions for Readers:

  • Can you think of an event in your life of which you and a close family member have entirely different memories? For example, my father insists he never built me a desk, but I remember that he indeed did.
  • Can you think of ways that “the past” is different now from what it was 50 years ago? For example, people who lived in the 1920s did not have the benefit of material from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Other Thoughts
Watch for more articles and publications by the author meant to tickle the brain about temporal reasoning and history: e.g., history and the future.