The farther backward you can look the farther forward you will see
I suppose for we psychotherapists this is a quote that truly resonates as a therapeutic truism. Much of a psychotherapists work can be described as looking or rather helping our clients to look at their past issues and to show how these may have an impact on their here and now circumstances and how this will impact their future.
This is an important idea as well because if we understand our past issues we are far less likely to accidentaly recreate them when we have this insight. Freud once said show me the seven year old and I will show you the man. Now Freud may not be fashionable these days in many circles, but he was correct about this to a large extent.
The same can surly be said of Churchill, he was using the notion of learning from history when he made this quote. As a man of history he could see when and how things were going to play out in th 1930’s and 1940’s. Interestingly, despite this wisdom he did not foresee his own end regarding being defeated in the election after the war. So despite out knowldge of our past there will always be something there that will surprise us. Makes life worth living I say.