songgaar and burungaar

These two words are Tuvan.

songgaar means “go back” or “the future” in the tuvan language.

burungaar means “go forward” or “the past” in the tuvan langaue.

Yes.

I typed that correctly.

Tuvans believe the past is ahead of them while the future lies behind.

The thought? They constantly look to the future but it’s behind them … not yet seen.

To most of us this is confusing. Aw shit. Thinking about the past, present and future is confusing anyway.

We are told to not live in the past. Yet we are also told to learn from the past. We are told to treat the present, each moment, like it is the last. And yet we are told to plan for the future.

We save money for future needs while sacrificing some present needs <or wants>. We look to the past with an eye toward how we could improve ourselves in the future while doing things in the present that will inevitably confuse people around us, most likely have a number of people be hesitant to accept whatever changes we are attempting to sincerely attempt and ultimately make us unhappy, in some form or fashion, with ourselves in the present.

Well.

Now that I have typed that, frankly, I am not sure that we are ever going to be happy attempting to do all that we are supposed to do with regard to the past, present and future.

Heck. I am not sure if I am being selfish focusing on the present, dumb for ignoring the past and irresponsible for not investing energy planning for the future. In addition I fear that while I had a thought in the present by the time I typed it I had stepped into the future and the thought remained in the past.

<my head hurts>

Ok.

I do not know any Tuvans <the Republic of Tuva is located in southern Siberia on the edge of Mongolia>.  So they can probably truly explain the thought. My attempt will be … well … mine.

I like the concept of what they believe.

I imagine, unlike many of us, the future to them doesn’t have all the trappings of ‘better’ and ‘more’ and ‘personal improvement.’  I hesitate to say that their view of life is simpler because it implies we have a more complicated life. And we do not. Nope. We only make it so … by worrying about status and how other people view us and what our title is and what type of car we drive. Oh. And retirement. I imagine they don’t worry about planning for their retirement.

Anyway. Maybe their lives are more focused on the present and doing the best that they can within some frame of time they call “now” <which may not be a speck of time but rather a longer living moment>. It permits them to say that their future needs, yes, needs to contain elements of the past. In addition … by focusing too much on the future they are sliding backwards.

Now. There is a thought, huh? Investing energy, or too much of it, on ‘future thinking’ could possibly be detrimental to moving forward?

Wow. Love it.

Ok.

Here is a thought.

Most of us are smarter than we think. Not maybe in terms of sheer brain power but rather with regard to “making decisions in the present that will benefit us in the future.” We spend so much time planning for the future and assessing decisions yet to be made that all that time <which I would suggest could be called ‘the present’> just slip on by. In general I tend to believe most of us know how to assess ‘now decisions’ and their possible effect on our future. That doesn’t mean we will always make the right decision. In addition some of us may get suckered into making similar wrong decisions more often than others <not having had that statistics class that taught us that each decision is mutually exclusive therefore the odds do not increase in your favor as time goes on>. Time teaches you that <by the way … that is called ‘the past”>.

Well. That was complicated.

So try this.

To move forward you must look to the past.

Simple as that.

No more. No less.

Chew on that thought.

Ok.

About Tuva.

The Republic of Tuva is the former Tannu Tuva, a country in south Siberia first annexed by Russia in 1914 and then absorbed by the former USSR in 1944.

Tuva extends from the coniferous forests of the taiga in the north to the rolling steppe of the south. 82% of the lands of the country is hilly and the rest 18% are covered with savannas. Tuva has a lot of variety within its geography containing grassy meadows, boundless steppe, medicinal springs, beautiful lakes, mountain rivers fed in spring by melting snows, dusty semi-deserts and snowy chains of mountains. Tuva is near the geographic center of Asia and Tuvans are historically nomadic herders, moving their aal—an encampment of yurts—and their sheep and cows and reindeer from pasture to pasture as the seasons progress.

Regardless.

When I saw these two words I wanted to share. Interesting how different cultures view different aspects of the past & future. And maybe we can learn something from their view.

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Written by Bruce