There is one of these every week, after all.
Which might as well bring us to the focus of today’s ramble.
And just with that- but a mention of the word, thousands of thoughts may be stirring in your mind. And somehow, in quite the hilarious irony, history is rather topical these days. Lots of folks going on in all sorts of ways about histories of a multitude of perspectives.
And though the word might strike fear into the hearts of students of all kinds, it must not be forgotten that the word means much more than just a dusty, old textbook filled with dirty ripped and ruined pages and littered with drawings of all sorts of phallic interpretations.
History is vast, yet minute. It is personal. It is global. And even though by definition it no longer exists in the period in which we currently live, it wields almost immeasurable influence on both day to day, and overall societal lives.
And the positivity can be just as immense as the horror. Because if we’re being honest, much of the larger human picture is painted with blood. From all over the world- aggression, violence, war and hate can be found everywhere. Fights over land, freedoms and faiths. Fights for resources. Fights for culture. Fighting over even just a hunch of something that might be bad. From the first homo sapiens, to the morning news in your local area.
And the presence is exasperated by our interest in the chaos. Conflict makes a telling tale. And even beyond what goes on in the physical world, the personal mind is often at odds with some sort of oppressor or feeling of oppression. Often a result of some previous occurrence. A position or action that in turn, creates an anxiety around further prevention of previous happenstance. An anxiety that can easily mold an individuals present, as well as tracing out the path of their future.
A person with a history of heartbreak can often be wary of romance. Someone who had ever felt abandoned, may often work to never trust in that way again. And a human that grows up in war, or the feeling of war, can often struggle with the concept of peace. As those of peace cannot understand the merits of a good fight.
And though they can seem justified in their ability, such histories should not be given total reign of behavior. What has passed has brought us all to where we are, yet to allow a path that is not proper to continue, is to damn the possibility of betterment. Because you cannot be afraid of another first date, as it may just turn out to be the best one you have ever had. And you cannot fear those descended from those who fought the ancestors of your own and ever expect anything to get better.
So, can we then wipe the past clean? Remove all the symbol and standing of that which has come before? Forget where we have been if the ugliness is too much to handle?
You could, I suppose. But that would keep us where we are. That would keep us at odds with ourselves and others. For those who attempt to destroy their history may very well succeed. And in that success, they will likely be blinded to what has already come to pass, coming to pass again.
But this is not permission to sugarcoat a page. What has gone wrong is vital to making things right. And often, what has transpired in the moments that have lead us to the now, are not as clear towards perfect benevolence or malice. As history never has, nor likely will be, as simple as the dichotomies we like to see. It is not all black and white, good or bad, up and down, right or wrong. Because with any instance of opposition between two parties, both will likely think they are on the side that must be correct. Which quite comically means that neither truly is.
It is terrifying though, our past. Especially that which went on in the time before our specific lives could witness. It requires trust that can often be betrayed. And it fastens many to a position that may proof difficult to break free.
So, what are we to do? Damn or praise history? Or only select the bits that fit with the scheme? Should we demand our ugliness removed, as though it were a wart on a rich woman’s ass cheek?
I cannot say for you, but for me, I say nay. We keep our past. For all the grotesqueness and glory. But we do not bend to it. It must bend to us. For it is only made from what we act upon in the ever-fleeting moments we call the present.
And that goes when regarding the personal sentience, but the larger society. We all be sinners, and from sinners we have come. But those who have come before can give us little more valuable than their mistakes. And the greatest insult we can give them, is to go and keep making the same mistakes as they. Do not waste their efforts and blunders. Do not erase the suffering. Do not erase the horror.
But do not yield to it.
To be able to overcome anything effectively, one must truly acknowledge the problem as it is. That way, our eyes can remain open to the goodness that may be walking our very way.
As we speak, so to speak.