"Memory allows for a kind of mental time travel, a way for us to picture not just the past but also a version of the future, according to a growing body of research.""The studies suggest that the purpose of memory is far more extensive than simply helping us store and recall information about what has already happened.""Brain-imaging studies have demonstrated that when people are asked to imagine the future as they recall past experiences, many of the same regions of the brain—the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex—show increased activity. "
The person who only knows the now has no clue about what else could be. Knowing what else has been in the past immediately triggers the imagination for what else could be in the future.
Memory of the past seems to be the first step towards mental time travel. Those who learn history have an easier time imagining the future.
Or maybe, as a guy who wrote about patterns of change that played out over 700 years of history in order to predict the next 50 years, I am reading too much into a little brain research to support my notion that we can find the future in our past.