“Always onward” is the title I have chosen for this blog which aims to reflect a general theme of thought which has occupied me recently, and which has also shaped the direction of the film which I have made. The culmination of this trail of thought can be somewhat summed up by Kierkegaard’s quote: “life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” This quote, although deceptively simple, I think is profound. The “lived forwards” aspect is open ended and encompasses the whole process of living, and one’s intrinsic and natural orientation to the future, when in modes of living. The “understood backwards” for me also has relevance, I have taken great interest in philosophy, and also in anthropology (a subject I am currently conducting postgraduate study in at the University of Kent), and this has stimulated my intellectual curiosity. This has been combined with reflecting on my past to some extent, (the University environment has allowed me the space to do this). This reading and thinking for me is encompassed within “understanding backwards”, as it is a different mode for me than “living forwards”, in fact it can, when taken too far, distract me and detract from “living forwards”. When looking to “understand backwards”, I have found it stimulating, allowing me to question and wonder, no doubt shaping me, and thus informing my forward movement, but I realise these insights must be embodied and lived. I have made some plans for the future, but projecting past’s understanding, into making plans for the future, is problematic after a certain point, the future is unpredictable and these plans must be flexible (but they will inform the forward trajectory of living).
Living forwards, in my reading of Kierkegaard, means living presently and yet with an awareness, or some idea of, where I am going in society. I have had a personal practice of living, drawing somewhat on Buddhist practices, for some time, which I feel serves me and others well, and I have come to a conclusion (at least for now) that a practice in this way of living, in my own way, must be my main priority. Things tend to fall into place when I do. Intellectual enquiry is secondary, and perhaps more of a hobby, but in following these intellectual enquiries as a hobby, I hope they will continue to enrich my life; as my natural interest will reflect where I am currently, and what I am moving towards.
I plan on using this blog, “always onward”, to document, for myself, the process of living in this way. I will use this in helping me “understand backwards” to some extent, but more importantly in investigating what it means for me to live forwards, presently and yet orientated to the future, from a place inside myself which is the best that I can be (and which is often illusive when not deemed vital for me), and which enables me to connect with the world and it’s people, wholly. The difference for my quality of life in living forwards vs. living unconsciously, is great, and yet this is a delicate balance to achieve, at times it works and times it doesn’t, but trying to follow the path is itself the best thing I can to do at this stage to “live forwards”.