“’The future is there,’ Cayce hears herself say, ‘looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now.’ ‘You sound oracular.’ White teeth. ‘I only know that the one constant in history is change: The past changes. Our version of the past will interest the future to about the extent we’re interested in whatever past the Victorians believed in. It simply won’t seem very relevant.’” (Page 59). After our discussion in class about Pattern Recognition being Gibson’s only novel to take place in the present tense, I thought Cayce’s description of the tenses was specifically intriguing in that context.
This quote shows the relativity of both the past and future and how different perceptions of both times are very untrustworthy.
The “fiction we will become” is interesting because it suggests that our lives will only be representations of what they used to exist as at any point in time, and this could perhaps lend credibility to the novel and Cayce as a speaker because her account is not clouded by alternative views of what something used to look like or what it perhaps will look like. Those in the future are currently viewing us as fiction because anyone in the past can only see representations of what things originally looked like. There is a certain unreliability in remembering the past that Cayce references when she talks about how the past changes, and how it is susceptible to whatever the viewer finds interesting about it. The past is biased because as current beings living in the present, concerning ourselves with the full extent of the past is not only uninteresting, but it is also impossible to live in the present if you’re living in the past. Another element of this passage that lends itself to further investigation is the pattern that Cayce notices as she talks about the attitudes of generations towards both the future and the past. The Victorians were only interested in the past of those living during the Renaissance to the degree of whatever their interest in it was, and that degree of interest is the same to which past we believe in of the Victorians, and the degree to which future generations will be interested in us.
The series of drunk history videos are a perfect example of the selective remembrance of people looking in on the past. We tend to remember only the details we want to or that we’re interested in and in the very nature of that, we recreate a new form of a changed past that is only a semblance of the representation that it used to be. Cayce’s notice of this unreliability is perhaps also reason to as why she lives such a precarious life, because she is unable to trust the security of either the past or the future. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCwHzmA9jNQ