Future ≤ Past; Does Past Define Everything?

Our culture clearly defines a person through their past.

We easily judge a person through their past.

We tend to make a mark of them through their past.

We ought to find what they might do in the future through their past.


Clearly, past defines a lot of things.

Our past is like a scar that never truly gone. To make a scar (literally, a scar) disappear we need to do the extra mile than just a simple ointment. We may need to go for a laser treatment (coughs, acne scar). It will sure costs us a lot of time and money.

Same thing with the scar of the past; it will leave us with a mark and it will cost us a lot to pass through it. What costs us doesn’t necessarily refer to money, but it costs us our acceptance and our willingness to learn to overcome what hinders us.

I believe, however, our past doesn’t necessarily define us.


We might be a drunkard in the past, but that doesn’t mean our life will stay that way forever.

We might come from a family that doesn’t perfectly fit into the category of “Ideal Family”, but clearly that doesn’t necessarily predict our future relationship.

We might not graduate school with flying colors, but that doesn’t mean we will live a less than remarkable life.


Even though we have to bear the consequences, we are entitled more than what happened in the past. However, it will stay the same as the past if we choose to not learn how to get through it.


The rice chest as in movie ‘the Throne’

A few days ago, I came across the tragic story of Crown Prince Sado of Korea a few days ago. Prince Sado was executed by his own father (or else known as King Yeongjo) by being sealed inside a rice chest on a hot summer day. No one was allowed to give him water or food and he died 8 days later due to suffocation.

The story of his tragic death made me search about him.  He was said to be mentally ill and a serial rapist. He killed a lot of people within the palace to vent out his anger.

Given his lists of unpleasant doings, one can simply conclude that his children might turn out the same. As there’s also a saying “an apple doesn’t fall far from its tee”. Apparently, we are wrong if we are to say that; his son turns out to be the second greatest King in Joseon dynasty.

The story clearly reminds me that our past might be bleak, but our future can be bright.

Our past doesn’t assure us of our future. Whether our past consists of stellar achievements or failures, those don’t guarantee what’s ahead. Clearly, given that Sado was a Crown Prince, he was expected to succeed the throne but he never become a king.

I agree that the past is important; we look at history so that we can learn. We learn so that we won’t repeat the same mistakes. 

But, the past is not a benchmark.

A mistake made in the past was for us to learn, not to condemn.

We can choose to see the past as :  Future ≤ Past  or  Past ≤ Future

The way we view past clearly depends on us. We can overlook our ‘scar’ and look forward to ‘other places’ than the ‘scar’.


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