The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle 4: History, Memory and Record

Sub Terra Vita
Chronicle 4: History, Memory and Record
By Tim Krenz

History should not forgive those who leave little record of their life behind them. People of great events do great service to the near-present and far-away future if they leave a thoughtful and reflective record of the context in which they lived and formed the world in which they dwell. What actually happened? How did it come about?

Scholars try to answer these questions about the past. If no records survive that time, or few do, then historians and biographers sometimes leave critical gaps on the crux of an important story. Losing that personal context makes the story not only less revealing, but it can always become a detriment to someone who could have benefited from learning the points not known.

It should matter to all who live now to pass on to the future “who did what?” and “why did they do it?” We can learn from history, as philosophers says, but we cannot learn from anything about which we know nothing . Of course, scholars and others cover the big events in history, but they normally tell a similar story of humanity's cruelty to itself. History in this age, as profession and hobby can change in an important way, to widen and broaden the human record.

How? By allowing the personal, and the mundane lives of individuals, share and show a story of the gifts each can contribute, to a spirit of humanity's goodness to others. This covers, due to our technological opportunities,the person and family interested in their own journey on earth.

Our age, the early 21st Century, faces a surmountable dilemma. From the time of the ancient Greeks, beginning 2500 years ago, until 600 years ago and the advent of Western printing and wider-spread literacy, we have great story of the bigger events in history. However, we possess only large gaps in what we could usefully know about the history of real people; their record of daily toil, thoughts, feelings, their wisdom and the genesis of their inspirations. We do have monuments, buildings, and a few written records, but far less record that we could use today, now, to improve our wisdom.

In the digital age, the thought should scare us of a single catastrophe event, within the imaginable possibles, that would wipe out all of the records, even old records, stored electronically. And how many records—personal photos, “blogs,” emails to family and friends—that historians would otherwise need to tell our story now, could become lost if no one has the means to read the code? A loss of some kind of all knowledge trusted to the domains of digits would amount to a million times more a catastrophe than the fire that destroyed the library of Alexandria.

Knowledge, and its convenience, could disappear by a flick of THE really big switch. Technology does so much service, even if we recognize the poor quality of social media-bytes as less than valuable contributions, compared to Homer's Illiad, or The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. Absolutely, we must recognize technology as a tool. Useful, yes, but less useful to reconstructing the past than a flint knife or a Dead Sea scroll. A dead computer, in a dead “code” language, and a cloud that might evaporate, would wipe our significance from our times.

Test a theory: Journal this summer, adults and kids, and write and illustrate a satisfying record of a very personal history. Reflect, create—think. It might become a joy, and it will survive like a Theban play from ancient Greece, a champion work that garlands a life story done well.


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