Elsewhere, I have written of "the future of the past" to capture this massive spiraling model of historical thinking and interpretation. By this paradoxical expression, I mean that we need to come to terms with the simple fact that, yes, we can now read the past in ways that past peoples could not read their own presents. Our future changes the meanings of their past. But any adequate understanding of their past will also inevitably challenge our own present assumptions about the world and so change the meaning of our present. There is no straight arrow here. There is a kind of recurring time loop, a constant return to the past in order to reassess and recalibrate the present toward a different kind of future. Anyone who works seriously with historical materials is familiar with these interpretive paradoxes.
—Whitley Strieber and Jeffrey Kripal, The Super Natural: Why the Unexplained is Real [via Gordon Meyer]