Without a doubt in doing talks about the future, my favorite (and many other people’s favorite) quote is from William F Gibson

The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet.
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It is so powerful.

I still sit back and marvel at it (see also the attempts to track down the source). These words bashe the simple idea of time being some sort of linear line with neat little dots and notes hanging on it.

Or that some person/authority can put a signpost out alerting you that you have arrived.

Tt just doesn’t work like that.

Sorry, but the future swirls around us like bits of ephemeral wisps (as well as the non-future). And we don’t know it until it is right Here, and then it is not the future, eh? In some alternate universe, I might be a PhD in Philosophy, and this topic would be my dissertation, just built around this beautiful quote.

But today I came across the perfect bookend quote, in, of all things, my reading of Bob Dylan in America, in reading this quote about the past from William Faulkner:

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.

That, to me, is just as heady, and deep, and makes perfect companion to Gibson’s line on the future.

Yeah, history is alive, right here too, along with the future. Where are we going?

Oh my, I am getting dizzy. Right here in the Now, I am surrounded by an unevenly distributed future and a past that is not past.

Time is not as simple as we tend to think.

(image from http://www.wbrschools.net/)

Neither are people.

While growing up in the 1970s, I was a TV junkie, and this one little bit from maybe the seminal sitcom that had layers deeper than cheap laughs, All in the Family, has always rattled around my head.

In this scene, the stubbon, thick headed family autocrat, Archie goes head to head with his intellectual, unemployed son-in-law, Michael (who Archie calls “Meathead”). These people are opposites in every regard, but given their relationship to Archie’s daughter, living in the same house, they have to co-exist. Here, in a rare case of trying to do something together (a fishing trip) they have a major discussion about something banal.

I love this because both parties are dead set in their way being the “right” or better way to do something. Internally, if you could play a tape in their heads, would be an expletive laden track of how stupid the other was. And they sort of make concessions to the other, but actually never do.

While the future and past mill around together in the Now, can we really be as simple as being adamant in our sock and a sock versus sock and a shoe attitudes?

Woah, Neo, a bit too much thinking in the morning. Gotta get more coffee….

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Love this post–both for its philosophizing and its reference to the most-cited TV clip in our household. A sock and a sock and a shoe and a shoe!

  2. I think of that All in the Family scene almost every day when I put on my sock and a shoe and a sock and a shoe. (Rain is more common than fire around here.)

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