“Looking back to move forward” is the central creed of the Manual and you already follow it every day.
It’s when you decide to do your homework because you got a bad grade on your last test. It’s when you use an oven mitt to grab your food after dropping your lasagna last time. It’s when you order the chicken instead of the fish because you got sick from the fish yesterday. It’s when you learn from your mistakes to not repeat them.
Looking back to move forward is science in a sentence. Our early ancestors followed the creed when they looked back at the sharp rocks that cut their skin and fashioned them into weapons to hunt. Modern scientists are interested in learning how the fabric of the universe works in order to manipulate it into a new form of technology.
Looking back to move forward claims that if you know how something works, you can predict it and even control it. We’ve proven that we can conquer electrons and photons to power your home and let you browse the Internet.
The only difference between you reflecting on your life and a scientist studying a chemical reaction is the scientist calls their experience “evidence” and writes it down. You have the ability to look back at all your previous experiences as well as the stories told to you by other people, both personal and fictional. Unfortunately, many people ignore their inner scientist by not unpacking their brains. If you can understand how you, your universe, and your society work, you have the ability to predict it and even control it.
The central creed also comes with an optimistic perspective of the world and it uses a bit of statistics as proof. If your life consists of a number of experiences, by default half of them will be good and half will be bad, when they are all compared to each other. When you experience something good, you can look back at all of the bad you’ve had before and appreciate Past You for enduring.
When you experience something bad, you can look back at all the good you’ve had and trust that more good will come. Even when the bad piles on, remember that the 50/50 split will even out eventually. Trust in the statistics and move forward with that confidence.
If you have looked back sufficiently to understand your place, you can begin to trust in your future actions. If you’ve ever tried improv comedy, you know that the purpose is to put out an idea and trust that your scene partner will run with it and then return the favor. In this case, the actors are looking back at their personal history together to trust each other to adapt. This is the same with your life. If you can understand what you are and how you fit into everything, you can trust in your ability to adapt to anything.
The symbol of Your Human Manual is both an eye looking backward and an arrow pointing forward. It represents the central creed of the Manual and reminds you to always look back and only move forward. Life only moves forward; spending your time trying to move backward won’t get you anywhere.