The past of the system is conceived as no more than the continuous succession of its states of presence.
I know that the word "succession" have a meaning of "something that comes after". So I think that whenever there is a sentence with the word "succession", it should have this form: "A" succession of "Something that happened before A". However, in the given sentence, it says "past of the system" in front of the word "succession" and "states of presence" at the back which seems like a reverse form of what I suggested. So it sounds awkward for me. Can someone explain?