In the ever-present present time of the media experience, images and ideas and sounds and words come and go at the speed of light. When everything speeds past our consciousness, there is no memory, and if there is no memory, there is no ability to look back, and when you can’t look back, there can be no future. In our life in the present tense, our dreams and aspirations scroll down the page in descending order: the past receding into a distant void. It used to be we consumed information chronologically, now it is reverse chronology: we are focused on whatever passes before us in the moment and the past trails off into silence. The startling speed of the reception of life produces an erased memory and a future that is always just beyond our grasp. We are so busy capturing the moment, that our captures are too numerous and prolific to retrieve. Images flow through our cameras and into the ether. We are simply too busy capturing the next moment to bother to look back.
It thus becomes the crisis of our time to find a way to hang on to that elusive moment in time, to record its past as a retrievable memory in order to enable a future. To have a future you must have access to the past. If we can’t look back we are delivered into the oppressive world of George Orwell’s 1984, when the State concerned itself continuously with the rewriting of history, and thus essentially the erasure of its past. The individual was forbidden to RECORD. The individual was not allowed to preserve a past and it is for this reason, they could never create a future, never experience the moment in time of the look back, the recollection, the retrieval of memory (and truth). In 1984, history was history.
And so too in our ever-present present time, the life of NOW, we produce a constant stream of interactions and experiences that are forgotten as soon they happen: a 24/7 cycle of discarded history. The future thus hangs in the balance: dependent on a certain mastery of the medium to preserve and record and access.
In other words, the ability to STOP long enough to look back and remember how we arrived at where we are.