Our Fortunate Present

How often do you hear people say that you shouldn’t think about the past? It’s over and done with, the future is only in our imagination and that we should all live in the present to truly appreciate what life has to offer. For the most part I would agree but I watched something yesterday which made me realise how incredibly lucky most of us are to able to live in our ‘present’ and it involved visiting the past….

How often do you hear people say that you shouldn’t think about the past? It’s over and done with, the future is only in our imagination and that we should all live in the present to truly appreciate what life has to offer. For the most part I would agree but I watched something yesterday which made me realise how incredibly lucky most of us are to able to live in our ‘present’ and it involved visiting the past….

I’m not a great one for documentaries normally, I prefer the escapism of dramas about slightly crazy, over-sexed lawyers or fantasies about impossibly good looking, charismatic vampires. However, for some unknown reason, last night I watched a programme about Auschwitz and the Nazi’s plan for exterminating all those that they considered ‘inferior’.

Holocaust 4The degradation and violence that these people suffered is, for most of us, beyond imagining. They were beaten, starved, frozen, made to live in conditions that we would deem cruel to animals. Their captors found ways to kill them that would lessen the suffering of the perpetrators; shooting at close range was considered too traumatising for the soldiers. Can you believe that such a mentality existed? Could ever have existed?

They experimented with types of gas and for their initial tests they used disabled adults and then disabled children; sometimes the tests worked and sometimes they didn’t and they had to resort to other methods. Eventually they refined their techniques and the gas chambers were born; over 3 million people were herded inside to their death.  3 million. That’s more than the entire population of Chicago!

AuschwitzWe all know that Hitler was to blame for these atrocities but how many others were needed to carry out the orders of this madman? Thousands, tens of thousands? No, the German army, at the time of WWII had 13 MILLION soldiers. Almost twice the population of New York were convinced that it was right or acceptable or that they had no choice but to kill their fellow man. How did this happen?

Holocaust 1Yes, it’s all in the past but if we leave it there don’t we risk the same thing happening again? Watching this programme made me realise that, whatever little suffering I’ve had in my life, it’s nothing compared to the mental, emotional and physical torture that these poor souls went through in the name of creating a ‘better’ race. In short, watching this harrowing programme made me realise quite how lucky I am to have the life that I have and my visit to the past made my appreciate my present a whole lot more.

What do you think? Should the past stay in the past? Should we all live for the now? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you



Author: All About Life

Middle-aged 20 something

35 thoughts on “Our Fortunate Present”

  1. This is so true. There are much more horrible problems faced by many people & we keep worrying about our little problems. I’ve realised this one too

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  2. You know, this is a really interesting question Lisa. Was this an English programme or a Vrench one? I’d like to listen to it.

    I think that there is a time for both. I kearned the value of living in the present moment when I was struggling with my fast deteriorating body, and going blind, because I had been both grieving for my past very actuve lufe, and worrying about my future. Then, I started to say to myself “Are you alright NOW?” “Are you coping NOW?” The answer at that time was yes. Not so much now, however. But at that time it helped me.

    I think that sometimes going into the past can do some good. Looking at history (which I love) can help us to understand the oresent. Looking at our own personal history can inform us in our present and give us understanding. Basically though, it would be goid if we could always just luve in the present moment because it is ALL that we know that we have. Eckhart Tolle had a lot to say about that, if you know him. He write about the NOW, and the oresent moment. Maybe you have read his book Lisa. Very interesting post. X

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    1. It was an English programme on Netflix I believe – well worth watching!
      Yes, I think that you’re right, there are times in our lives when it does us no good to grieve too much for the past or worry too much about the future. However, I believe that we can learn from the past.
      As you said, if all of us could live in the present moment, as if we had no past and would have no future the world would be a happier place.
      I haven’t read Eckhart Tolle but that sounds like another good recommendation, thanks Lorraine :O) xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think there is any perfect answer to all of this. A lot of idealistic thinking can go on, and sometimes this can get to being victim blaming if you see what I. Ean. Instilling guilt becayse you are not doung it ‘right’ . I think we all do in the best way that we CAN do it. And there are dufferent stages in our journey. Xo

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  3. There is a reason that we learn and teach history. So that the mistakes made in the past are not repeated. Though few people learn this lesson. For improving the present and the future, past needs to be revisited.

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  4. Its funny how those who don’t have the guts or courage to feel the truth of the past so often tell us to ‘get over’ ours. We need to learn lessons from the past. In Al Anon I used to hear the saying ‘look back without staring’… its a fine balance. We need to learn from the past and face things from the past to live better today and take lessons forward. Don’t know if you have ever seen the movie about the Holocaust Denier. I cant remember the name of it but the guy tried to prove the Holocaust never happened but its trauma has been shown to repeat in generations past if it is never talked about. Read the work of multigenerational trauma specialist Mark Wolynn on that issue. What we don’t know about from the past CAN HURT US very much.

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  5. Of course we don’t learn, we still seem to helplessly watch genocide occuring, but somehow the holocaust affects us uniquely, despite all that’s happened since. Perhaps because of the Beethoven factor. Germany was a modern land, cultured and educated, birth place of great music and the Jewish people have always been an important part of cultural and scientific life. It should never have happend there.

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  6. I think there’s a difference between reflecting on and learning from the past, and getting “stuck” in it. It’s also important to be aware of any past issues that may be affecting someone in the present and getting the neccesary assistance to process it. ❤ ❤

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  7. In my humble opinion, the past holds knowledge for those who are seeking answers. It serves a purpose, if only for the simplicity of private musings. Historical past, however, is there for humans to reflect on the atrocities of the abuse of power over those seeking even more power, control, greed or to gratify some sick need to overpower those whom they consider weak or unworthy.

    Sadly, history tends to repeat itself. This incident is one of many over the millenniums that humans have existed. This same abuse and the abuse of power of those who sit in positions of power has grown to become a global entity in our world today. It’s just more subtle, more discreet, swept under the rug or ignored. Why? Well, that is the question of the day, isn’t it?

    Thankfully, human beings are beginning to open their eyes and millions are working to create a change from living the old pardigm of the conqueror mentality toward that of cooperation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder if people simply choose to ignore what they don’t want to see until it affects them directly. In the past wars were fought closely but these days there is so much distance between the perpetrators and the victims that the violence almost has a hint of unreality. I hope that your predictions are correct because change is long overdue. Thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I believe the past should never be forgotten, but should not be dwelled in either. It’s like a vacation. It’s good to visit the past from time to time, but one day you have to go back home to the present. The past teaches us so much and it should help us see how much we have grown, or not grown… what we have learned, or have still yet to learn. It should help us pave better paths in our present, so that we don’t repeat the mistakes. Like that documentary you watched, it helped you realize how fortunate you are and that we should do all that we can to make sure those same tragedies don’t happen again. 🙂

    This was a really thought-provoking post, Lisa! I thoroughly enjoyed this!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Have you ever read Frankl? Life-changing stuff. Half of “Man’s Search for Meaning” is his life in Auschwitz and the other half a really uplifting book about living our best life. Grand, really.

    Never forget what came before. Those who do elect Trumps.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great post. Thought provoking and very relevant.
    I write often of reconciling the past. What I’ve come up with is that it serves a purpose but dwelling on it has ups and downs.
    Bottom line, we try to learn from it in hopes of not repeating it.
    Well done

    Liked by 1 person

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