Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life in Retrospect

People often say - you can never unfold time in retrospect in the same way as it naturally unfolded then. Take the example of a PhD student's thesis. Good research (in the sense a good thesis which indeed makes a contribution to the relevant area) is never done in a day; neither is it ever dictated from a month or even an year's of single line of thought. Rather the process is more or less recursive - we hypothesize, we test, we validate and then come back and re-examine our hypothesis again. The process continues until we are able to hit the so-called "scientific truth" - okay maybe for many of us, the "technological leap".

Thesis ideas don't bloom in a day - people rarely would have their ten chapters of the actual thesis figured out in the very first month of their grad school. However, when you look back at a good thesis after seven (or hopefully several) years, it gives you the feel, the girl or the guy dreamt of doing the exact same thing and expected the exact same results the day s/he was born. We know that's often not the case though (okay not talking of Turing Award winners here)!

Life looks different in retrospect. It lends us a spectacle which enables us analyze the past in the context of a number of variables that have come to emerge and affect our lives in the present. Hence when we look back, we feel that life in retrospect has happened the way because they were bound to happen that particular way! Some people would call it luck. But I woudl refrain from digressing into that - needs a separate post.

Retrospective thinking and the conclusions derived from them are often misleading, or are at least quite illusive. However it is of utmost necessity in life. When I look back at my life retrospectively, I feel happy. Because I feel I won't have been probably sitting her writing this blog about my weirdest philosophical thoughts unless things happened the way they actually happened. I feel, in retrospect, life molds us in a (sub)optimal way which can help us lead our lives in a manner which we, if we want, would be able to justify to ourselves, if not another ten people.

Since I was a kid, everyone used to tell me - look forward, think about tomorrow, don't brood over the past, etc etc. But sometimes the retrospect helps. It gives you the courage for today when you think of the hard times you have had tide over in the past. It tells you that wherever you are, it's your sequence of actions that has led to this, and hence you are the one who has responsibility of your own life - not some other random contextual factors which had just fallen in place in the past. Precisely, looking at life in retrospect makes us ready to tackle a tough tomorrow. Yeah several times, if not always.

When I look back at the person I was in 2007, exactly two years back, I feel strange sometimes. I feel strange at the manner (and also the fast pace) I have evolved as a person, learnt of life's greater responsibilities, started to take things as they come and to love the things I do, and do the things I like, as long as it's justifiable to the larger set of people you care about. If life had been hard then, it was like that for the today I have.

And the today I have is probably for something more meaningful tomorrow...


4 comments:

Aravind Krishna K said...

Very good post.. and thought-provoking...

Munmun said...

Thanks AK, I am glad you liked it :)

Partha Pratim said...

I agree with Aravind, nice post.

Looking back often contributes positively, though too much brooding over things we don't have any control on goes against us at times.

Ankita said...

nice post............life is retrospect