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  • Writer's pictureJeff Monday

Lessons from the Mad Historian

One of my favorite characters from The Story King Chronicles is the Mad Historian, Abla'Than'Abla. When you first meet him, he's in his library, busily burning books and scrolls.

Abla, you see, is in charge of a very peculiar library. Rather than being a repository of knowledge gained and history lived, his library is full of things that have yet to occur. His is a library of the future. And so, after an event has happened, he happily burns the book. After all, what's the point holding on to something that's in the past?

Obviously, the character of Abla turns our ideas of history and knowledge around and plays with how we view life. And I wanted to take the image of a great bonfire in the middle of a library and burning books and turn it into something fun and unexpected.

But there's a deeper meaning to Abla. He represents breaking away from our past, to not being beholden to what once was.

Experience is a wonderful thing. We learn as we age. We take our past experiences and apply them to current situations. This is awesome! But I see us living in the past too much sometimes. We fall into ruts, assuming that this time will be the same as last time. We don't, in other words, give the present a chance to be something different.

Learning from the past yet remaining open to the future is a tricky road to walk. We have to learn from our past mistakes and failures, yet we have to remember that those mistakes and failures do not, or should not, define who we are now. The past is what we build on. It's our foundation. But it's not all we are.

We are also of the future. And of the present. Just as much as we are of the past. If we keep ourselves open to the possibilities before us while using the hard-gained knowledge of the past, we'll be fine.

So don't live in the past, my friends. Remember it. Learn from it. But don't live in it. Keep your mind on the present and your heart in the future.

And don't be afraid to burn the past when necessary.

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