The Psychology of Prequels: Invoking a Past to Explain Your Actions of Today

“As Polish poet Wislawa Szymbroska observed, “Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.”

psychologistmimi

“What’s your prequel Heather?”

I am sure you have heard of “do overs” and how we rarely ever get one in life. We may often regret our actions and perhaps as a result we may learn from our mistakes, changing for the better. At times we may just be fools and repeatedly make the same mistakes. But we cannot rewind or delete our actions no matter how much we may block them from our consciousness.  Denial is evolutionarily adaptive.

As a country, the United States is a bit obsessed with sequels. While we cannot delete past actions, oftentimes we seek to keep something like a personal storyline going, no matter how ill-advised that may be. Look at American soap operas,  Many have lasted 30 years. Wow, talk about growing old with someone. Foreign soap operas tend to be time and storyline-limited.  Collectively, we wanted to see Ripley keep coming back…

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