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Happy New Year 2014! The Past is In Front Of You..The Future Is Behind You by Antoine Gigal
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HERE and now", "Back in the 1960s","Going forward"... Western languages are full of spatial metaphors for time, Most of us describe the future as ahead or in front of us, and the past as behind us. Until the view of the Ancient Egyptians very different according my research and they are not the only ones : the Aymara call the future:back or behind time, and the past : time ahead. And they gesture ahead of them when remembering things past, and backward when talking about the future.…

The Aymara speakers see the difference between what is known and not known as paramount, and what is known is what you see in front of you, with your own eyes. »The past is known, so it lies ahead of you. (“Past,”literally means eye and sight, as well as front.) Therefore the eye symbol is the meaning of the Past in the majority of its representations.The future is unknown, so it lies behind you, where you can’t see….

Rafael Núñez of the University of California, San Diego,led his team into the Finisterre mountain range of north-east Papua New Guineato to study the Yupno living in the village of Gua. The Yupno made spontaneous gestures when speaking about the past, present and future. They filmed and analyzed the gestures and found that for the Yupno the past is always downhill, in the direction of the mouth of the local river. The future, meanwhile, is towards the river's source, which lies uphill from Gua.

And in China, Mandarin speakers sometimes represent time along a vertical axis, with the past above and the future below . Some professional researchers have written "With the Future Behind Them," an article of 50 pages in the very serious journal Cognitive Science about all that…

Is it possible that human concepts of time can vary this much because of language and culture? And what would it be like to think this way? Do I have the rest of my life behind me ? The Ancient Egyptians named the Future : the Chaotic forces, are we pushed back to the chaos ? We can't quite process these ideas, unless, perhaps we swing our 20/20hindsight around 180 degrees. And what about other aspects of space that we use metaphorically — up, down, in, out, high, low ? it’s a well known fact that Ancient Egyptians as well other ancient civilizations saw our today North down and our today South as up…

And I can’t forget a sentence in George Orwell's 1984 :"He who controls the present controls the past; , he who controls the past controls the future." Happy New Year !

Antoine Gigal, December, 31st 2013     
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