The year just ended has been one of the most tumultuous in recent memory. The year ahead is likely to be even more so. History is always being made, but it is not always noted. In the annals of history these two years will be noted time and again.
As 2017 begins, I intend to exercise this site more often, with posts that reflect a continuing focus on vital issues, risk, change, and wisdom, as well as with complementary posts. Some of these will speculate about alternate historic outcomes and others will simply reflect the lived experience of people and communities.
I am barely into a much appreciated Christmas gift: Homo Deus, by Y.N. Harari. Page 59 includes two statements that generated this post. “Historians study the past not in order to repeat it, but in order to be liberated from it.” And, “movements seeking to change the world often begin by re-writing history, thereby enabling people to re-imagine the future.
What Harari is affirming is the proposition that we all live inside a story, or even concentric circles of stories, which tell us our origin, our place, our role (alone and in relation to others), our power, our limits, and — ultimately — our value, as we try to make the most of our agency. These stories represent the size of our stage, the strength of our springboard, the diameter and capacity of our tampoline. If our stories marginalize, humiliate or limit us, they must be re-imagined and re-authored if we are to improve our agency. And, of course, those who are privileged by the currently dominant story will be opposed to ‘historical revisionism’.
If Homo Deus is not on your reading list, it should be. I expect it to be the seed bank for some future posts. My thanks to Dr. David Elkins for such a thoughtful gift.