I originally posted this several months ago. I was thinking about the divisive attitude prevalent in the US. I still feel like the message is important, maybe even more so now. There are many important things happening in our country today that are a result of the dismissal of our collective history, the historical apathy that Sebald writes about in The Rings of Saturn. Indeed, too many of us got comfortable in our green velvet armchairs. It’s time to wake up.
Giving Voice to My Astonishment
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
Warning: I’m currently re-reading W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn.This post may cause melancholy, circuitous thinking, excessive thinking, and/or general confusion. Or, perhaps, it will make you think. Read at your own risk.
I’ve been thinking about history, more specifically the importance of knowing history–one’s own and also our species’ collective history. There seems, at least to me, to be a miasma of apathy surrounding us these days when it comes to history. Are we in danger of reviving practices that are better left in the past? Or have they truthfully been left in the past? Have we forgotten some of our nation’s less-appealing history? Are we getting precariously close to repeating some of our biggest and most embarrassing failures of justice and morality? Does this affect me? What can I do about it? It can be overwhelming.
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