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The Past Revived, In A Higher Form

If you haven't already, you should read the following two blog posts before diving into this one:

Here's a quick summary of the two posts:

In the first post, I talk about the prevailing conditions of our current times. Specifically, there are two major trends I notice: hyper-atomization of individuals and a general decrease in ownership of critical assets within American society. These two conditions set the stage for the second post, where I reference how these conditions produce a future that can only be marketed but never truly realized. It's a future that the average person lacks a stake in; therefore, it's a future that will never be built for the benefit of all.

The end of the second post had this sentence:

The real future will look much like the past but in a higher form.

I want to take a moment and expand on this sentence. I was inspired by the following passage depicted below:

The text is a bit hard to read from the image, so I'll re-type it here:

A mere property career is not the final destiny of humankind, if progress is to be the law of the future as it has been the past. The time which has passed away since civilization began is but a fragment of the past duration of man's existence; and but a fragment of the ages to come. The dissolution of society bids fair to become the termination of a career of which property is the end and aim; because such a career contains the elements of self-destruction. Democracy in goverment, brotherhood in society, equality in rights and privileges, and universal education, foreshadow the next higher plane of society to which experience, intelligence, and knowledge are steady tending. It will be a revivial, in a higher form, of the liberty, equality, and fraternity of the ancient gentes.

This is from Lewis Henry Morgan's magnum opus, Ancient Society. I haven't read the full work myself, but I came across the image contained during my endless browsing on

The prose is lovely, but what resonates with me most deeply is the insight and vision behind Morgan's words. Especially the last sentence: "It will be a revival, in a higher form, of the liberty, equality, and fraternity of the ancient gentes."

That last sentence is what I was referring to at the end of my second post. To me, this embodies the real future we could inhabit instead of the one marketed to us now. This isn't simple nostalgia being offered here, it's something truly new yet familiar at the same time.

What's new is that the real future will contain material abundance in all forms, and such abundance is the bedrock of ownership because everyone will be able to afford it and have a stake in the future.

What's familiar is the social relations between human beings, the "liberty, equality, and fraternity" of the distant past, will be recognized and embraced as an inextricable element of the future.

The future is the past, but in a higher form. What a lovely, endearing sentiment and vision to strive for.

I find hope in these words. Despite my many failures and shortcomings, these words give me the courage and strength to persevere in rendering this real future for all.


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