Saturday, August 8, 2015

Some Observations on Notebooks

There is an interesting article by Ian Brown entitled A new year. A new notebook . You should read it.

The article ends with the "observation" or "claim": "We spend most of our lives pointed forward, peering into the future to see what’s coming, planning how we’ll respond. A notebook looks the other way, and knows how all that ended." Perhaps! But however that may be, this passage reminds me of Kierkegaard's quip in an entry in his Journal of 1843, where he finds:
It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards. Anf if one thinks over that proposition it becomes more and more evident that life cannot be understood in time simply because at no particular moment can I find the necessary resting-place from which to understand it - backwards."

I am not sure about that alternative either. In any case, even if I agree with Kierkegaard that it is simply false that "life must be understood backwards" (whatever that may mean), old notebooks help me understand what I was concerned with in the past. This understanding is done from the perspective of the present. That's why I find it a good idea to revisit old notebooks every few years.

2 comments:

Angry Thinker said...

I keep a journal too for future reference backwards (how's that for phraseology based on combining the concepts above?). Anyway,whether one looks forwards into the future or backwards into the past to learn from, neither eras are with us: the past is history & cannot be changed, whereas we don't know if & in what way we will have the future.
There is only 1 real time: HERE & NOW = the present. The only way to really experience life to the full is to live in the present by being fully aware of it. That does not mean you can't/shouldn't plan for the future (e.g. your pension), but living in the present, fully aware & mindful of it, is the key.

MK said...

I like the phraseology.