Each day is a data point on a some-dimensional axis. The day-to-day granularity is much more tangible closer to our temporal perspective of the present. As time goes on and they move further away, the data flattens into a lesser-dimensional curve, which is how we see the past. We see ourselves improve at a craft over time from empirical records of creative outputs. We tokenistically make fun of our prior selves in a spectacle of pride for who we’ve become.
Our past becomes a diagram of hills and valleys among arid ruts—a veritable geography to which we are nomads, perpetually moving away.
We can only ever work out what the axes are if we see difference; either minute difference in the present, or broad difference over our history. Most of the time we know which way is up, but it’s easy to get disorientated. Sometimes what we think is up is really only sideways.
At our worst, we make assumptions on localised data like a climate change denier. Considering one good day in a period of depression is tantamount to Donald Trump cracking wise about cold weather.
At our best, we recognize changes on the macroscopic. I’m sorry for small things I did yesterday. I’m sorry for big things I did long in the past. It’s more difficult to be sorry for things inbetween.
It’s impossible to have a social presence that doesn’t permanentize the tangent of the instant, if not the value. We all perform social calculus.