Sometimes life feels like a code that’s hard to decipher. Soren Kierkegaard, known as “the father of existentialism” quoted that life can only be understood backwards. Let’s, therefore, take a look at the past and learn something out of it.
As humans, we are conditioned to grow learn and solve problems in our daily lives. As a matter of fact, time, wisdom, and knowledge are powerful resources needed to enjoy the best out of life. Soren Kierkegaard stated in volume IV of his journals that life can only be understood backwards. He penned down this somewhere around 1843. Today it teaches us a lot of lessons.
Irrespective of how confused or dissatisfied you are in life —the ball is in your court. Live wisely among this world’s 7 billion people. But never forget to leave behind good legacies before you die.
Who was Soren Kierkegaard?
Soren Kierkegaard (b. 1813, d. 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author. He was also known as “the father of existentialism.” Soren lived as one of the passionate Christian writers. His quote about understanding life in a backward process has been one of the most popular inspirational quotes in our 21st century.
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
As controversial as this philosophy could be, let’s try to understand and derive some valuable lessons from it.
Many of us have tried to understand life from different perspectives. It is a whole complex network with many mysteries which the finite mind cannot fathom. Sometimes it is quite necessary to look back, make a reflection, assessment, and think about the way forward.
What Is The Meaning Of Life Can Only Be Understood Backwards?
This could simply mean, you have to understand how, when, and where you were before reaching this moment. It forms the basis of any changes that have occurred in your life.
The changes could be progressive, stagnant, or retrogressive. Hence by knowing your stance by comparison you would be inspired to take the appropriate measures henceforth.
Understanding Life Backwards
Have you ever made self-reflection before? If not, then I think it’s time to give it a try. You surely have a story in life to tell. You can call it your history just like how the doctor writes down your medical history in a file, so you have to make a record of your past. The file on the doctor’s table provides a quick and simple understanding of your condition for better diagnosis and medication.
In the same way, taking a look backwards helps you ‘diagnose’ your current life situation better and make the best decisions about your future.
It would help a lot to understand your journey here on earth. This is one major reason why Søren Kierkegaard said Life can only be understood backwards.
In addition, he continued by saying “but it must be lived forwards.” That’s a very good inspirational quote for anyone willing to create a beautiful future.
To throw more light on this part of the quote saying the life you are living could only be understood backwards also reminds us that history is very essential. If you don’t know where you are coming from, you may live the wrong life with the wrong motives. In other words, you will feel lost in life.
It is said that “experience is the best teacher.” By going through different experiences in life, you learn how to strategize your life to avoid repetition of past mistakes. The past isn’t a good place to dwell, but a good place to learn lessons.
Live Life Forward
While Søren singled out the past as the “only” way to understand life —He cleared out all doubt by putting, a ‘must‘ there for everyone to keep moving forward in life.
Yes, that means you must see some kind of progress in your life by taking a quick retrospective look at how life used to be; then compare it with your current situation.
For example, if you drove your car past something with some doubt or confusion in your mind, you can quickly take a reverse to have a good look at it. After that, you don’t stay there — you move forward to wherever you have planned to be.
The past is gone, you can only recall some bad or good memories and learn something from them. Today is here with you, you can make the best decisions, and stay positive and hopeful about the future.
The future is not here. Don’t stress yourself about it. As long as you decide to keep moving, one day the payoff would be great.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said it doesn’t matter if you are crawling or walking — the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Each step counts so don’t be lazy to make progressive efforts in life.
While many of us are scared of what the future would be like, it is necessary to leave that into the hands of God. He alone knows the future. He has better plans for those who seek Him wholeheartedly. God has a track record of blessing His faithful children.
Worries about the future only stress you out and make you feel insecure. Make up your mind that whatever the case might be — you will chase your lofty goals. Just make sure you are on the right track; I mean there should be a purpose for your struggles.
Finally, Soren Kierkegaard’s quote saying —that life can only be understood backwards reminds us to be very noticeable of the things or events that have happened in the past.
The past is the place you find records of your life, your mistakes, the good and bad decisions, and a whole lot that could be a guide for your future.
It is not a place to stay —but a source of valuable lessons and memories to understand where you are coming from. In all, you would need some of the experiences you had in the past as stepping stones when climbing the ladder of success.