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I believe it was William Faulkner who once wrote, "The past is not dead. Infact, it's not even the past." I think on many levels the past is something that plays out in our consciousness which exists in the present. Configuration of time is something of critical importance to human existence. In terms of composing your essay, I would look to the field of psychology and how our past influences our identity. Psychologists study individual action in relation to its past experiences as a way to better understand human motivation. Thinkers like Carl Jung and other Constructivist thinkers have utilized past experiences in how students understand the reciprocal process of teaching and learning. The pressing issues of the modern setting have some roots in past experiences. Social advancement, economic empowerment conflicting with material deprivation, and the politics and actions of social inclusion and exclusion have roots in past experiences.
The past does not exist. It is not a thing or a creature with a mind or a will of its own. It cannot "claw its way out." You can choose to think about it or not think about it; it's up to you.
That's not to say that the past has not added up to where you are right at this moment, but you can examine your actions in the past, learn from them, and make positive decisions based on what you have learned. Then you can move on freely in the present.
Maybe this quote from Marcus Aurelius will help you understand:
Every man lives only this present time, which is an indivisible point, and all the rest of his life is either past or it is uncertain. Short then is the time which every man lives, and small the nook of the earth where he lives; and short too the longest posthumous fame, and even this is only continued by a succession of poor human beings who will very soon die and who know not even themselves, much less him who died long ago.
Become the master of your fate and don't let the past drag your thoughts and actions backwards. As it has no real existence, the past has only the power that you allow it to exert. It is but a breath on the wind; surely your mind is stronger than that.
From a personal point of view, I can see how you can argue that the past always claws its way out. Since I've been an adult, issues that my brothers had with me and each other from back when we were kids have surfaced and caused problems between various brothers. So even things that happened so long ago still affect us.
It's not all that different for countries, either. China, for example, can still be mad at the British for the Opium Wars from the 1800s. The Iranians still talk about stuff that the US did to them in the 1950s. So in these ways, the past claws its way back out in the bigger world as well.
I'm not sure which of these would be more appropriate for your essay -- is it supposed to be about personal stuff or about the bigger world or what? But I would think you would want to include things like the ones I put -- things that would show past things causing problems in the present.
Past is something that is behind us and it will never come. And future is something that is yet to come. We can only live in the present. They say the best way to live is in the present. There is no use fretting or regretting about the past. Similarly there is no use just dreaming or worrying about future. But this does not mean that past or the future has no positive role to plat in our happiness or success.
Consideration of both past and future are important. When we talk of burying the past we refer to not not worrying about the spilt milk, or harping about the past achievements, rather than making best use of the present. But this does not mean that we forget the past and refuse to learn from it. Past has many things to teach. They say people who refuse to learn from their past mistakes are destined to repeat them.
Similarly planning and preparing future is very important for improving ourselves and our life. When our house is on fire it is important to pay full attention to the current task of putting out the fire rather than planning for installing better fire fighting equipment. But this does not mean that we should never plan for and install fire fighting equipments.
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