People say you can’t change the past, but that’s not really true. All that survives of it is our rememberance, and memory… is just as malleable and imaginary as foresight. In fact, we alter it all the time. Drug addicts in “recovery” re-cast their indulgences as a sickness, as something completely different than what it was when they were high. Their present attitude changes, and that carries over, trasnmuting their weaknessor recreation into something very different than it had always been before, when their attitude was more receptive to the idea of drug use.
Folks change what their childhood was like, all the time: the serial killer who believes, in retrospect, that mommy and daddy kicking the shit out of him was the root of his later habits; the successful corporate douche who rose out of “poverty”. None of these examples apply in a general sense, nor do they mean that there wasn’t a solid, objective reality of what has occured… but all we have is what’s with us of it, in the present moment. Memories that we almost invariably alter in one way or another, in relation to the present, and to the potentials of the future we see in those present moments.
What I’m talking about is reminiscent of a fictional force technique.
“When you drop a pebble into a river, what happens? There’s a splash, and then the splash disappears. The splash is real, but the river doesn’t change. It continues on just the same.”
Above is a metaphor used to describe the nature of that technique, by one of the most notable characters to use it. He further explained it to his apprentice at one point… and told her that the change was real, but that there was no danger of altering the objective past. Desperate to believe the changes she had made were real, Tahiri pointed out that while the objective reality of the past was unaffected, that pebble is still there. His response was that yes, it was still there, but only in her mind. My point, in recounting all of this, is that you can change the present and future by altering (a persons perceptions of) the past.
He used the flow walking technique to manipulate a woman into learning from him, supporting his efforts and values, and working with him against people they had both considered family, friends, and allies for the better part of their short lives. Not unlike any real, non-fictional person that changes his perception of the past to motivate him or herself, or to gain a sense of empowerment… or even of accomplishment. The only part of the past that needs to change in order to influence the present, is the perception of it. When that is transmuted, the reality of history (personal or collective) is virtually irrelevant.
In effect, for all intents and purposes, it’s changed all the time.