What’s Past is Prologue 

“What’s past is prologue” is an old phrase now in vogue. Overused, and often truncated, it has moved from the venerable Shakespearean reflection on a man’s perceived destiny into the realm of vernacular I deem too commonly used to be clever and orignial, but also a concise and compact phrase with deep meaning.

I like it. It is brief, and in four simple words, expresses an abstraction that has as many layers as one chooses to explore, if not by a purist.  

Some use it now in a manner to express or suggest that one cannot escape the past; their reputation precedes them; people don’t change who they are; their history is part of the luggage they will forever carry; what happens next is just another link in the chain.

I’ve heard it used in a way that is dismissive of the past; to say that it is irrelevant to now.

I prefer the luggage analogy in my adaptation (or usurpation), but in a more forward looking way; one that is far more positive than it’s original connotation of “all that has happened has led us here and to what must happen next”. (Shakespeare experts, grant me forgiveness if I interpret that incorrectly). It has components of “lessons learned”, along with wisdom from having lived a full past. It is the set-up for things to come.  Layers of the past make the person of the present.  

Prologue sets the stage for a story and serves as important context only, not destiny. This is NOT how it was meant to be taken, I understand.  But then, my (private) misuse fits perfectly within its own self. Significant and undeniable indeed, what’s past is only prologue.

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