Monday, December 11, 2006

Gardens and History


It’s funny (to me at least) how similar history is to gardening. If a garden isn’t tended it will revert back to nature in very little time. History if not tended will progress to total misunderstanding, myth or become the forgotten.

Gardens are planted and cultivated, as is history, oft times. How much have we heard about Columbus while we were growing up that we find now wasn’t true at all. How much did we hear about George Washington that wasn’t true? History is most often subjective like the news we get from the news media. Where exactly is the truth? Maybe there is never just one truth.

Some of the plants we grow in the garden are cultivated weeds. Some of these weeds escape and become problem plants elsewhere. Without writers, historians and gardeners, everything would revert back to a natural state. Perhaps it would be better.

How could this be? Isn’t it said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it? Maybe it’s the memory and bitterness over history that perpetuates wars that have been going on for hundreds of years. Maybe it’s the memory of bad treatment or loss of property that keeps racism alive today.

War can demoralize entire generations. I remember hearing vocal resentment in 1975 about Germans and the Japanese, from a war that ended 30 years earlier. Can you imagine how long the United States will be resented in the Middle-East. If we can hold a grudge for 30 years even after victory in WWII, imagine what grudges will be held for all the culture and history we have destroyed. Ever see a confederate flag. The South lost that war in the 1860s and there is still a grudge against the Yankees, and that’s close to a century and a half ago.

I will agree that it is a historical memory that makes us who we are today, but it is our lack of a “forgetory” that prevents us from moving forward more than a little every generation.

I just wonder what things would look like if we allowed our history to go fallow for a couple generations.

7 Comments:

Blogger Trish said...

I couldn't agree more!

Every person on the planet wants to live in peace, so why can't we just do it? A springtime "clean slate" would be ideal...

I had posted something like this around the Sept 11th date this past fall...how instead of endless memorials every aniversary we should be letting the date go. And I had one commenter say that he would like to see it remembered every morning of every day...

I didn't want to come across as insensitive (the Canadian thing lol) but I just think we slow ourselves down with so much "remembering". We owe it to our next generations to forgive, forget and move on.

10:31 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I think that there should be some insensitive Canadians. I mean, Neil Young was the last (and only)angry Canadian, and now he is sleepy.

Anyway, Trish. Very well stated, but unfortunately all the demoralization going on will still show results hundreds of years from now, I'm afraid.

Too bad we can't have Canadian democracy advisors work with the USA.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Trish said...
"Every person on the planet wants to live in peace,...."

You were not serious when you wrote this; were you?

What a different world it would be if that statement was even close to reality.

1:13 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I guess you are sadly right, Gearhead. There is a big war industry out there that pull strings on those in power. No way will our vision ever be realized.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Agreed. How much have you heard the Crusades brought up since the Iraq war? When WAS that, like, the 10-hundreds or something?????

There's a little book called "The Day the World Forgot" which literally goes through one day where everyone forgets that they should be hating someone of another faith, race, locale. Pretty interesting!

10:20 PM  
Blogger CB said...

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear, you've got to be taught year after year, its got to be drummmed in your dear little ear, you've got to be carefully taught."

"You've got to be taught before its too late, before your six, seven or eight, to hate all of the people your relatives hate, you've got to be carefully taught!"

Famous lines from a famous stage play (later a movie) which my children nabbed for a short skit when they hit the road as Black Rose Children's Theater, performing skits about racism and gender equality. They were 8-11 yoa. We had a blue van with posters all over it. I am laughing so hard right now. Probably another memory one of them isn't overly fond of, but they are very sweet to me and I treasure them. Thank-you Guy, for a great blog and esp your entry today with a chance to remember how important it is to watch what we teach our children and also allow our children opportunities to teach us.

2:02 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

This subject of history came up on my friend's blog in Mississippi yesterday as well. She did a post about how Mississippi is trying to change its image and the slogans they are coming up with to do so. It's pretty hard to change peoples ideas with a recent(less than 40 years) history of raceism. It may take generations to purge that image in peoples minds. By the way I sent her a slogan and now I think she's pissed at me. It was "Mississippi, where Lynch is on us!"

8:35 AM  

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