Jump Start Your Brain: Future Past

JumpstartHappy Saturday, Modern Philosophers.

I am up early on a rainy morning, lost in my Deep Thoughts about last night’s Think Tank topic.  If you haven’t read that post, I urge you to go back and participate as the grant that keeps this blog running requires that a certain amount of Philosophy is mixed in with all the silly humor.

I’m feeling quite philosophical again this morning.  In fact, I fell asleep in my Deep Thinking Toga, and am still wearing it as I write this post.  I’m not quite fully awake, so I’m going to jolt my brain into action with 1000 volts of Deep Thoughts.  Anyone else need a hit?

Has last night’s Think Tank post got you thinking that you’ve opened a philosophical Pandora’s Box?  Do you find yourself thinking about the past and wondering if the decisions you made when you were just a kid have forever altered your path as an adult?

Was the foundation for my entire future laid by choices I made when I was young and foolish?  Is it possible that something I did on a whim as a teen has forever changed the course of my life?  Am I paying now for the sins of my past?

Do we have free will?  Are we forever moving ahead, uninfluenced on life’s path?  Or has our route been predetermined?  If I had made a different decision in my past, would my present be entirely different?  Do the Fates exist?  Is my life playing out according to a script that was completed even before I learned how to write scripts of my own?

When I made a choice at 20 to let someone back into my life, did I forever alter my future?  If so, does it make sense to allow a lonely, horny, lovesick sick that much power over his future?  Should a future be forever changed by choices made before I was old enough to legally drink?

Isn’t it true that the decision I made at 17 as to which college to attend forever altered my destiny?  How about that meeting with my high school guidance counselor at age 16 when I decided I wanted to go to Film school and learn how to be a screenwriter?  Should I even go into all the stupid decisions I made in college?  What if I had been more dedicated to my college internship?  What if I had focused on directing instead of writing?  What if I hadn’t let my future ex-wife back into my life?

I made all those decisions before I was 21, and didn’t they determine precisely where I would be at this very moment?  Isn’t way too much of our future determined in the distant past?  Does that make sense?  What teenage has the foresight to realize that Choice A is going to eventually lead to Consequence Z?

Do we choose a career path too early in life?  Do you think we’d be better off doing a 4 year “Life Internship” after high school and before college?  Would it make sense to spend those 4 years out in the real world, developing interests, making connections, exposing ourselves to what life has to offer before we settle on the major that influences our future?

Do you have any doubt that college would have been a completely different experience had you undertaken it 4 years later?  Would that extra time have meant a different future?  Had I arrived at NYU 4 years later, would I have been surrounded by an entirely new group of people?  Would I have chosen different classes?  Would I have studied harder and applied myself better?  Would I have ever met the woman I married?

Am I writing this blog post right now because I decided to hide from my miserable childhood by getting lost in writing stories?  Had I chosen to do something about how unhappy I was back then, would I be a writer now?  Maybe confronting my Evil Step Mother instead of cowering from her would’ve led to a life as a lawyer?

Had I not been so scared to speak to girls when I was younger, would I be happily married with an army of offspring today?  Had I insisted on going to the local high school instead of being forced to go to the one on the Upper East Side, would I be living in Brooklyn and married to the girl I met at my first high school dance?

Did teenage Austin decide everything that happens to Modern Philosopher Austin?

That’s a lot to think about.  I’d love to hear your Deep Thoughts on all this…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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17 Responses to Jump Start Your Brain: Future Past

  1. moonbear42 says:

    While I was reading this the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley came to mind:

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Loom but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

    Why this came to mind, I can only say this: that we can allow our past to shape who we are, or we can let it go and become the person we want to be tomorrow.

    I suppose we can also embrace our selves of the past and hope for a better tomorrow. I think you really have to almost reset and reflect if you are going to delve into the past. If you forget to reset though, those past memories will just haunt you. After all, you aren’t the same person that you were yesterday.

  2. markbialczak says:

    Of course to all of it, Austin. Scary, isn’t it? With two or three changed decisions for each of us when we were 17 starting a topple of two piles of dominoes, you could be typing on an iPad in Syracuse and I could be sitting on a porch in Maine.

  3. susielindau says:

    The cool thing is you can always change direction. There’s nothing stopping you. I would have laughed 4 years ago if you had told me I’d be a writer. My kids were in college and I needed a job. I thought I’d start illustrating cards, but here I am!

    • Austin says:

      I know we can still change, but is the basic foundation set? Are we always going to be a certain way? Are we predestined to always be shy, overbearing, lazy, etc? Just fun Deep Thoughts for a rainy day… 🙂

  4. Pingback: Life is like a…jump start your brain | Two on a Rant

  5. floridaborne says:

    My answers are up and ready to read. Both funny and frightening (at least to me). 🙂

  6. Pingback: My Response… Deep Thoughts | moonbear42

  7. Every day changes us . To what extent we allow that change to affect who and what we are is in our own hands. Chaos theory suggests that even minor events change outcomes, but if we could view the infinite numbers of ‘self’ we could have become, would they be so different from each other? Whether it’s encoded in our DNA or the manifestation of some universal energy, soul, or simple ego, perhaps we will always become the person we need to be. At every crossroads we make a choice, or not (which is in itself a choice). Do the paths diverge, or do they bring us round to the same crossroads time and again until the choices we make are the ones we need? I have no answers, only the knowledge that, with a lot less years in front of me than there are behind, I feel I am where I was always intended to be, regardless of bad decisions made in youth and mistakes (some of them really bad ones) in the following decades. If I had made different choices, I have a feeling something in my unconscious would have pulled me, or guided me, to where I have arrived in this moment, this life.

    • Austin says:

      Thank you for sharing more Deep Thoughts. I hope you will continue to participate on this blog. We could always use some new Modern Philosophers. 🙂

  8. I’d really like that. 🙂

  9. This is all very philosophical for my little brain. I would simply say, everything happens for a reason.

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