Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.
Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
Marx doesn’t say that we are forced to use the signs and slogans of the past as we press into the future: we do not yet know the language of the future as we fall into it. Maybe this is part of what McLuhan means when he said,
We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.
Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
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