How to Understand the Present

A way of understanding where we are in the world today is by finding out how we got where we are, history, and where we may be going in the future. What we understand as the "present", is an ever-changing condition.


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    Learn about the World Wars, and how they shaped the world as it emerged from them. Finding out how different countries and individuals reacted to the the same problem can give you a very good idea as to what was socially acceptable and what was not.
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    Find out about people's reactions to laws or legislation. Often similar edicts are being passed today, and people may not react as they did in the past.
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    Learn about the latest technology and how it came into the mainstream. This can show you how quickly science can change and the impact of scientific advancement on society.
    • Computers. Personal computers have given common people more resources for managing businesses, designing complicated plans, and storing information that was impossible to do with pen and paper just a few short decades ago.
    • The Internet. This one development has changed how we view, learn about, and interact with the world on a scale that couldn't be imagined before its acceptance.
    • Broadcast media. Satellite television makes viewing global events, as well as a vast spectrum of entertainment a daily reality for people almost everywhere.
    • Communications. Email has displaced verbal communications in many instances, but if you choose to communicate verbally, cell phones allow you to do so even when you are driving down the highway, or working at your job.
    • Medicine. Major breakthroughs in transplants, artificial organs, molecular biochemistry, surgery, and other realms or medicine are adding years to millions of lives.
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    Look at the present with a broad view, and through many resources. To understand the present, you should be aware of what is going on now. No one can see the whole picture, as in a global scale, simultaneously, but you can educate yourself by reading the news, watching it on television, and for more up to the minute information, using Internet resources.
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    Think about the present in terms of what lays ahead of us. Rising oil prices, global warming, threats of pandemics, and terrorist activities threaten the status quo. Improvements in agriculture, medicine, weather forecasting, and industry offer hope for the future, and how we receive, or respond, to these conditions and events in the present will shape the future.
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    Realize tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us. This is the basis for "living in the present", or "taking one day at a time". To dwell on past mistakes, or live in fear of the future is a counterproductive use of time, and a certain way of letting uncontrollable circumstances steal your peace.
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    Care about your own community. Few of us have a great impact on society, but we can try to contribute to our local communities, using the potential of the present to influence conditions in the future. Here are some ideas that may help.
    • Take steps to conserve and decrease your contributions to global warming.
    • Share what you have surplus of, whether it is time, food, clothing, or money. Listening to someone who is hurting or alone can be more valuable in the present tense than giving them the shirt off your back.
    • Be willing to shoulder responsibility for causes, instead of waiting for the government or a citizen's committee to meet to resolve a problem.
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    Be aware that there are few things that time does not change. If you are dealing with pain or loss in the present, it may seem hopeless, but the future remains to be seen, so never give up.


  • Experience the present, letting the past rest.
  • Respect all life, we share the present with every living creature.
  • Don't blindly fear the future. Almost every generation has faced crisis, yet we have made it this far. Human beings are resourceful and adaptable creatures.


  • The present is only here for a moment, and it is likely no one can completely grasp it. The present you are in at any one moment quickly becomes the past, so don't waste time looking backward, or energy trying to see too far forward.

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Categories: History | Philosophy and Religion