Remembering/Repeating the Past

There’s no danger of our remembering the past in the ways required to keep us from repeating it. However, if we could, we might be well advised to look at areas:

1. Spanish Inquisition – to keep religious zealots in their proper place,

2, The French Revolution – to remind us about the down-side of revolutionary fervor,

3. The Soviet Union – to further remind us,

4. Santa Fe Trail – The eroded, abraded gorges and arroyos along the length of it to remind us it’s worth looking at the ground we’re standing on occasionally, rather than devoting all our attention to the horizon and a future we influence, but don’t comprehend.

5. The Chacoan/Mogollon, the Inca, the Aztec, the Mayan, to get our feet back on the ground when we indulge our fantasies that someone, once, ‘had it right’.

6. Japan in the 1930s, to remind ourselves the most rabidly cruel torturers can be forgiven, rebuilt, and sell us television sets and automobiles with impunity.

7. Hiroshima, to remind us surprises can happen to the most devoted, arrogant and unwary.

8. The ruins of castles, fortifications, National Cemetaries to remind us these crises we’re submerged in this moment will pass, as well, and be forgotten.

9. The DDT consequences of the 1960s to remind us science doesn’t have all the answers, that sometimes it’s better to put up with an insect than using the most expedient means of exterminating it.

10. Any man-made catastrophe, debacle in human history to remind us of the law of unforseen consequences.

To remind us we aren’t as smart as we tend to see ourselves.

To remind us, no country ever attacked another thinking it would lose.

No religious zealot ever killed or tortured anyone of another belief system believing his behavior would eventually be pointed to as proof of the falsehood of his beliefs.

No scientist ever released an invention or development believing it might one day destroy his kids, or their kids.


10 responses to “Remembering/Repeating the Past

  1. What humans keep forgetting the last couple of thousand of years”
    Everything is impermanent.
    Everything changes.
    Nothing stays the same.
    Life means pain and suffering.
    The origin of suffering is attachment to beliefs, concepts, ideologies.
    There is a way out.
    Self inquiry is the way out. Watch your mind. Just watch your mind think.

  2. John Prine – a modern Bob Dylan?

  3. To be forgiven and rebuilt. How it seems we all (well, me at least) need that so badly these days. To sell television sets with impunity, not so much so.

    Lovely post – thanks for sharing!

  4. Thangs Change and I am one of those thangs.

  5. Nice list — food for thought indeed, Jules.

  6. Absolutely, Old Jules.

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