Some things I have learned #17

Subtitle: Or, at the least, I think I believe

Sub-subtitle: Or, at the most, I believe I know


Janus, the Roman god of two faces, each looking in the opposite direction of the other, symbolizes the beginnings and endings of all things; and, thus, bestows his name on the month of January.

As Janus sees, so, too, we. January, as the first month of the calendar year, is an annual especial time to look retrospectively at the past year (and so globally tumultuous 2020 was!) and to gaze prospectively into the new year (and what fond hopes 2021 harbors for us all!).

Even more, throughout our days, we, for manifold reasons, take occasion to fix our attention on the commencements and the closures of the events of our lives.

Still more, the true countenance of Janus cannot be seen, for it appears between the two faces and casts its eyes upon the instant-by-instant, ever-progressing, thus, impossible, figuratively and literally, to freeze in time present.

In relation to the present, by contrast, there is a sense in which the past and the future are more fixed. In the case of the past, yes, our thoughts and feelings about the events of our histories can change, though not the events themselves. In the case of the future, yes, our imaginings of what will be can change, though what-is-yet-to-be always remains in a semi-static state of approach.

Here, too, as Janus sees, so, we. Given the rapidly kaleidoscopically movement of the present, each moment swiftly, sequentially, ceaselessly giving way to the next, it is difficult to remain singularly focused on the extant instant of the “now.” This may explain why and how we humans spend much time reflecting on our pasts and envisioning our futures.

© 2021 PRA

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