Because the future has that naughty way of mocking the past, and because it takes such pleasure in wreaking havoc with the very idea of certainty in the present, wiser counsel would suggest we maintain a tempered judgment as we travel into tomorrow, transforming our every today into our yesterday.
For who among us, philosopher or scientist, can claim to know anything for sure, and forever? The very idea is enough to tempt the future into releasing its bag of tricks upon us.
And yet, even in the slipperiness of the present, especially the political present, one is inclined to consider a place for Aung San Suu Kyi in the pantheon alongside Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Suu Kyi, the Oxford-educated mother turned political prisoner and now opposition leader in the parliament of Myanmar (still called Burma by the UK and the US), is living a today that seemed all but impossible over a quarter of a century of yesterdays.
This weekend, she wraps up a six-day trip to Thailand where the world's cameras followed her every word at the World Economic Forum. After a brief return to Myanmar, she goes on a European tour that will take her to Britain where both houses of parliament will be honoured with an address by her. In Dublin, she will join Bono and U2 onstage as reward for his long championing of her release from house arrest. European capitals are even now vying for stopover visits as she makes her way towards Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to her 21 years ago.
Myanmar may not be on our radar. Without the compelling stories from AP, Reuters, CNN, BBC and others we might have no reason to follow the affairs of this Far East country. But the story of Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi offers a valuable parallel in reverse to Trinidad and Tobago, trapped as we are in the mirage of instant gratification.
We were both once colonies of Britain. In 1948, after a bruising civil war that involved both Britain and Japan, Myanmar was declared independent. In 1962, however, as we eased out of British rule into independence, the Myanmar army ousted the civilian government and took control of the country.
In T&T, where we are told that "yesterday was yesterday and today is today", where loyalty is measured by the capacity to stomach the vicissitudes of opportunism, and where leadership itself is defined by the power to believe in nothing, the politics of Aung San Suu Kyi offers a lesson in the wisdom of the long view and in the possibility of change through strategy, commitment and hard work.
Suu Kyi's story is already the stuff of legend, full as it is of the searing drama of a young woman, product of a revolutionary dynasty and last child of Aung San, architect of his country's independence, assassinated when she was just two years old, in the midst of preparing for Myanmar's independence.
She lived the life of the international diplomat's child, growing up in India where her mother was the Myanmar ambassador, graduating from Oxford in England and working with the United Nations in New York and Bhutan until she married a British scholar in Tibetan studies and settled in England to bring up their two sons.
Then the future, ever so tricky, stepped in to claim its own. In the years that would follow, Aung San Suu Kyi would be thrown into a political maelstrom that would take her to the point of extreme self-denial as she surrendered to the political destiny she could never have imagined.
Her visit to last week's World Economic Forum was her first trip out of Myanmar since leaving her husband and teenaged sons in England to go and look after her dying mother 25 years ago.
In a few days, the 42-year-old who left England will return to celebrate her 67th birthday with the family and friends she had left behind. Many have died, including her husband.
Fifteen of those 25 years spent in Myanmar were in the solitude of house arrest on the grounds that she was "likely to undermine the community peace and stability of the country"; the other ten were spent actively building the pro-democracy movement into which she had been swept during the 1988 military crackdown while caring for her mother.
To pressure her into leaving Myanmar, the military junta denied her family visas to enter Myanmar after 1995. When, two years later, her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, she was offered a visa to leave but declined knowing she would never be allowed back in. He died in 1999, without her and in the care of their two sons, by then in their twenties.
What it takes to make such a choice between family and country is something the rest of us will be lucky never to have to know.
Last week, the woman who took the stage at the World Economic Forum had become the face of a country that has been changed by her actions. Like Mandela and Gandhi, her power as an international symbol of freedom and resistance against her people's oppression was only enhanced by being jailed.
Like South Africa, the Myanmar administration has had to bow to domestic and international pressure. Last year, she was released to participate in elections. She is now Leader of the Opposition, free to travel the world, campaigning for constitutional reform, removal of restrictive laws, greater protection of human rights, and the establishment of an independent judiciary.
Myanmar's today is truly the sum of Suu Kyi's yesterdays, proving that, in truth, as you sow, so shall you reap. You cyar plant corn and hope to reap cassava.
As with all else, the future is not promised to Suu Kyi. The years of imprisonment and emotional pain have taken their toll. At last week's forum she appeared gaunt and fragile but undiminished in her dignified poise, her voice clear and strong, her words civil yet uncompromising.
Still, what the mocking future holds is anyone's guess. Her father, after all, had been cut down by an assassin's bullet in his political prime. But perhaps, like Mandela, her work may already be done. Whether the rest of her political career will be gifted with the grace that his has enjoyed is a secret that only the future knows.
• Sunity Maharaj is the editor of the T&T Review and Director of the Lloyd
Best Institute of the West Indies