There is one page in Chuck Hogan’s novel “Devils in Exile” that I’ve been wrestling with. It’s called “The Tomorrow Man Theory.” And in the novel it is espoused by the villain. Yet, it makes TOTAL sense. It’s actually helped me to make some good choices in terms of what I eat and to push me to exercise a few times I didn’t feel like it.
Here it is:
The Tomorrow Man Theory. It’s pretty basic. Today, right here, you are who you are. Tomorrow, you will be who you will be. Each and every night, we lie down to die, and each morning we arise, reborn. Now, those who are in good spirits, with strong mental health, they look out for their Tomorrow Man. They eat right today, they drink right today, they go to sleep early today–all so that Tomorrow Man, when he awakes in his bed reborn as Today Man, thanks Yesterday Man. He looks upon him fondly as a child might a good parent. He knows that someone–himself–was looking out for him. He feels cared for, and respected. Loved, in a word. And now he has a legacy to pass on to his subsequent selves.
But those who are in a bad way, with poor mental health, they constantly leave these messes for Tomorrow Man to clean up. They eat whatever they want, drink like the night will never end, and then fall asleep to forget. They don’t respect Tomorrow Man because they don’t think through the fact that Tomorrow Man will be them. So then they wake up, new Today Man, groaning at the disrespect Yesterday Man showed them. Wondering why does that guy–myself–keep punishing me? But they never learn and instead come to settle for that behavior, eventually learning to ask and expect nothing of themselves. They pass along these same bad habits tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and it becomes psychologically genetic, like a curse.
The thing is–you can’t fix the mistakes of Yesterday. Yesterday Man is dead. What you can do is help yourself today. Eat a vegetable. Read a book. Cut that hair of yours. Leave Tomorrow Man something more than a headache and a jam-packed colon. Do for Tomorrow Man what you would have wanted Yesterday Man to do for you (emphasis mine).
I don’t know that it’s biblical but it is compelling. And certainly Jesus wants us to love others like we love ourselves. It seems like a lot of us don’t love ourselves and certainly not Tomorrow Man.