Can We Learn From The Past

“Put sunblock on! Do you want to look like this in 20 years!?” The Mother points to her own face that was beet red from years of playing out in the sun with no protection. And the Child responds with a simple “NO!” and goes to play in the ocean. This simple “NO!” cascades into the Child having a terrible sunburn, bad day, and an angry Mother.  Everyone has seen this situation at least once, whether it has happened to you or a friend or you’ve seen it in a movie, it always has the same outcome. The Child rebels. Even when they know the consequences for not putting on sun protection. So why do people just repeat history over and over again? People make the same mistake as their predecessors did and yet they expect a different outcome. They expect to be successful instead of failing, but why? Is it that we all are destined to repeat the past?

Why don’t people just learn from their predecessors, so that they don’t make mistakes? Most of “your parents experience and perception are no longer adapted to our current generation’s expectations towards life,” so the wisdom from our predecessors may no longer be relevant. Using past mistakes to learn may cause us to make even more mistakes depending on how relevant the mistake was. Also, as Vasudeva said,  “Do you really think that you have committed your follies in order to spare your son from them? Can you then protect your son from Samsara?” So can our parent’s mistakes really save us?

Instead of learning from your parent’s mistakes many people believe that making mistakes on your own is for the better, and while making mistakes is a great learning experience it can cause problems too. Repeating a mistake or a situation may be educational, but some situations are best left unrepeated. In the Seven Samurai, Kikuchiyo says, “This baby is me. This is just what happened to me.” In this situation a baby had been orphaned just like Kikuchiyo. This is an example of an undesirable situation because it includes suffering and the characters did not learn much from this experience. This may be an extreme example, but there are downsides to small mistakes as well. When you look into the science of what happens in the brain of someone learning you see that neural pathways are created. “When we do something right, a pathway is created. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong.” These neural paths are the reason why bad habits are created. Of course someone learning isn’t going to be perfect, and they’re probably going to make lots of mistakes. The best thing a person can do is to learn from their mistakes, and make sure to not repeat them.

Now, learning from your predecessors  may be outdated and making your own mistakes has its pros and cons, but is there a way a person can learn from mistakes without them making the mistake or the mistake being outdated? The answer is yes, and people can do this through social media. 

Most of the time social media is filled with false news, toxic comments, and huge debates. However, if a person chooses a trustworthy news source they could learn a lot. Finding someone online that’s successful can help you see what works and what’s a good way to become successful. Also, finding someone online that doesn’t just post about their successes, but also their mistakes and failures in life is a valuable asset in learning. Learning from them may give you a new perspective and their information wouldn’t be outdated. Times are evolving exponentially, and some people can’t adapt to it. However, social media is always dynamic, always up to date, and always active.

Are we all destined to repeat the past? The answer is no. We are not destined if we learn from our mistakes and from other’s mistakes. There is no such thing as perfection, and everyone will make mistakes. However, it’s up to you to learn from those mistakes and grow off them. The quote from Siddhartha I chose to make my Barber Kruger project on was “I had to sin in order to be free again.” This means that everyone has to make a mistake, be bad, sin, and it seems that we are not destined to repeat the past, but rather we are all destined to make mistakes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s