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Arnold Toynbee

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It would be well if, in studying the past, we could always bear in mind the problems of the present, and go to that past to seek large views of what is of lasting importance to the human race.

 
Arnold Toynbee

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We learn in the past, but we are not the result of that. We suffered in the past, loved in the past, cried and laughed in the past, but thatís of no use to the present. The present has its challenges, its good and bad side. We can neither blame nor be grateful to the past for what is happening now. Each new experience of love has nothing whatsoever to do with past experiences. Itís always new.

 
Paulo Coelho
 

How can a past idea be present?... it can only be going, infinitesimally past, less past than any assignable past date. We are thus brought to the conclusion that the present is connected to the past by a series of real infinitesimal steps.

 
Charles Sanders Peirce
 

The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have. The past and future have meaning because they are part of the present: a past event has existence now because you are thinking of it at this present moment, or because it influences you so that you, as a living being in the present, are that much different. The future has reality because one can bring it into his mind in the present. Past was the present at one time, and the future will be the present at some coming moment. To try to live in the "when" of the future or the "then" of the past always involves an artificiality, a separating one's self from reality; for in actuality one exists in the present. The past has meaning as it lights up the present, and the future as it makes the present richer and more profound.

 
Rollo May
 

"And the upshot of all this," so I have been told more than once and by more than one person, "will be simply that all you will succeed in doing will be to drive people to the wildest Catholicism." And I have been accused of being a reactionary and even a Jesuit. Be it so! ...I know very well it is madness to seek to turn the waters of the river back to their source, and that it is only the ignorant who seek to find in the past a remedy for their present ills; but I know too that anyone who fights for any ideal whatever, although his ideal may seem to lie in the past, is driving the world on to the future, and that the only reactionaries are those who find themselves at home in the present. Every supposed restoration of the past is a creation of the future, and if the past which it is sought to restore is a dream, something imperfectly known, so much the better.

 
Miguel de Unamuno
 

It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it.

 
Will Durant
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