A bias against the past is a feature of our Zeitgeist, and has a number of manifestations. One of these is the dominant model of rational agency as geared towards producing effects or outcomes, a model which cannot make sense of the cogency of backward-looking reasons for action. I discuss the nature of such reasons, and the way of perceiving and understanding the past which goes with them. This mode of understanding the past is one of the things that gives substance to the idea that the past has a reality lacked by the future, a reality which among other things makes the past a possible object of contemplation (as in the study of history). Such contemplation is a crucial component of eudaimonia.