Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Meaning of History

The past is useless. That explains why it is past." Wright Morris
"The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things rotten through and through, to avoid." Livy
"The function off the historian is neither to love the past nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present." E. H. Carr
I stand here, in the middle of my room. I can stretch out my arms, feel music flow over me, excite nerves, control the pulse of my heart beat, blood, enflame joy and life, passion, hunger. The lyrics flow over me in Japanese, carried by the voice of my favorite singer. The boundaries of my self become porous and float in the stream this world we Humans construct. Concepts, ideology, mythic endeavors, and the small petty cries of a soul lost in the stream all blend.  To say that I exist apart from shared and woven experience of my species is to find myself in a sickness that pushes me under, drowns my experience and perception in sorrow, isolation, and eventual depression. A rage rises to fight the pain, clawing desperately for survival, for belonging. 
In that terrified rage we form coalitions with others experiencing this overwhelming fear of destruction. Religion, totalitarian regimes, oppressive corporate sub-cultures, armies, and high school cliques that torment the unfortunate outsider until death takes away the other, these are the songs that arise from the half truth of separation. 
Truth is harder, full of multiple causality and mindless For-Next loops. I am not my hand, which types and draws, and ties my tie. If my hand is cut away, I am still the flow that is Nix. I embody my hand as it reaches out beside me, feeling the pulse of my music, here in my room. This music reaches backwards to it's origin, reaching me through the minds that originated the internet, that decided Japanese should have no 'L' sound, back into the echoes of stories that were told around most sacred and dangerous fire in a night far different and yet exactly the same as the night outside my own window. 
I am the Grand Canyon and I am carved by the flow of uncountable human thoughts, actions, and events.  To confront the raging terror of alone, of rejected, I turn into the stream and own those events as my own.  I strive for truth. Reading both the 'examples and warnings' that my older brother, Livy, called out to me. Truth is a light more powerful than my esteemed ancestor's fire and it fights a darkness a million times more dangerous than a simple night with other honest predators seeking their own survival. To believe that the forces that formed each individual is useless is to sit in the Senate and believe that Caesar will never cross the Rubicon. To reject an understanding of our truth and experience is to lose an understanding that a hand is not a self.  To ask questions of history and seek genuine answers with fearless curiosity is to fully accept oneself. a

No comments:

Post a Comment