Saturday, July 21, 2018

"lest we forget"

Reading along shiftlessly in the book and not quite sure why ... "Young Men and Fire" seems to suggest that the reader should not forget the 13 lives claimed by a forest fire in Montana on Aug. 5, 1949. The courage and craziness of it all... do not forget. Let us not forget these good men.

And "do not forget" puts me in mind of the "never again" that can be appended to any number of tragedies. Near at hand, when the tragedy is just past, the horror and anguish are enormous... and 'we' will never forget or allow others to forget ... a child, a spouse, the Holocaust, a groups of innocents ... never again such ruthless, edge-less pain!

But whereas I may have my schedule and maintain a self-affirming portrait of myself, forgetfulness has its and "never again" might better be rendered as "ever again." World War I gave way to World War II with hardly a hiccup, the the horrors were beyond screaming just like the first time. Never again...never again...never again...

Oh wait -- let's do it again.

And did I hear that the Jews who were so badly treated during World War II are doing a grand job marginalizing others in many of the same ways they themselves were once never-again marginalized?

George Santayana gets the credit for "those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." ... and various incarnations of that saying. Doesn't it sound wise? Profound? Sage?

To me it sounds like bullshit when set up against the imperative that goes with forgetting. Of course history will repeat itself. Ditto personal idiocies.

Ever again! Too bad -- that's how the cookie crumbles and forgetfulness kicks in ... whatever the horror, whatever the pain, whatever the disgrace, whatever the dishonor.

When it's not flat-out false, memory at the very least is fickle as it offers up sorta-kinda recollections that are never exact, always fuzzy, always reshaped. The confusion is compounded by the fact that there is a burning desire to imagine that memory can or could be relied upon. Yessireebob, I'm going to remember into all eternity. In addition, I plan to do what I can to have others remember as well. Remember what? Remember this horrendous horror.

Not.

"Doomed to repeat it" suggests that there is another option.

There isn't.

Which, if true, means there is no "doom" in it. It's just part of the natural flow. Do I wish I could be smarter, less idiotic and less foolish based on part performance and outcome? Sure, but "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride." My options dissolve into wishful thinking and an occasional, but not assured, correct activity.

Never again? I doubt it.

Let's not forget to remember... for whatever that's worth.
And let's remember the inescapable capacity to forget.

Just noodling.

4 comments:

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  2. Speaking of Trying Not To Forget...

    I did not read, hear nor see a single tribute for the First Moon Walk.The 49th anniversary of the first moon walk went pretty much unnoticed; the walk took place on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC.

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  3. Practice makes perfect, or at least automatic. I'm of the opinion that the big brain will prove to be an evolutionary failure. If it's not out right lying to you it's likely to be just plain wrong.

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  4. Lin Rongxiang (Lionel from Singapore)July 27, 2018 at 1:21 AM

    Thank Buddha it's Friday!

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