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Sometimes we need to look back

Cherry Blossoms 2015

Time is a funny thing. It keeps moving regardless of what happens in our lives or the world around us, and doesn’t really pay much attention to us. Humans have been writing their history down – even in caves – for thousands of years hoping that those who come after them will remember them and know what happened in their lives.

We continue to write to this day, or pass down stories told in our families. And yet, we still manage to somehow knowingly forget recent history as we go along in our own little, selfish bubbles.

I wrote the following on Instagram yesterday after I finished watching PBS’ 1971 because I was struck so much – yet again – by how history had just recently repeated itself:

We are, as a human race, willfully ignorant of the past. “Don’t look back, keep moving forward,” we are told. I disagree. Stop, turn around and learn what those before us have taught us, things they’ve shed light upon, because history repeats itself with every generation that passes. And every generation that ignores the past, is willfully repeating history.

This particular story is about government surveillance (which has always happened by the way, and I never assume that any government globally is not doing any sort of spying on its own people), but it’s just yet another example of history repeating itself all over again.

Whenever I hear about conflicts exploding in different parts of the world, riots breaking out, or even diseases coming to the forefront, I stop and look back to see if it’s happened before. Usually it has and yet….and yet…

We just never learn it seems to me. We keep repeating the same mistakes and missteps over and over again. We vote people into office (at least in the US and I’m talking more about Congress) who repeatedly harm us in so many unforeseen and underhanded ways – be it domestic or foreign policies that come back to bite us in the ass at some point.

When are we going to learn? I honestly fear we never will.

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nothing new under the sun…

    May 20, 2015
    • Marie #

      Not at all!

      May 20, 2015
  2. San #

    I think it has to do with the fact that a lot of people are “empiricists” instead of “rationalists”… they look at history and think “oh, that was then… now will be different” and then go ahead and proverbially have to “burn their hands on the hot stove”, before they learn from it.

    May 20, 2015
    • Marie #

      Oh so so so so true! *sigh*

      May 21, 2015
  3. Human beings, the flawed creatures that we are, are doomed to repeat our mistakes of the past. Sometimes we’re just too ignorant, or proud, to think we are any better now than we were back then. Feels like a depressing thought, but perhaps that’s just our nature.

    May 21, 2015
    • Marie #

      So very unfortunate that we do, but yes, agreed.

      May 21, 2015
  4. I thought one of the defining traits of being human was the ability to learn from our mistakes. Where did we screw up along the way?

    May 29, 2015
    • Marie #

      I think those in power have been like this, sometimes on purpose, for a looooooong time.

      May 29, 2015

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