The past is always relevant in that one can learn from the experiences garnered there. It is nice to sit and reminisce about our imagined glory. It can seem like yesterday, and eons ago simultaneously. Focusing on the positive can be rejuvenating for the mind and propel one to new challenges. The horrors of the past though are another story entirely.
History is cyclical, and as much as we might like to believe we have evolved and moved past our more barbarous selves, humans only change in infinitesimal ways. The same animal instincts that drove us millennia ago still fiercely inhabits us today. We still compete with each other for resources and mates. When we are not fighting real wars, we simulate combat in competitive sports, designed to prove superiority over another. While it’s probable that over the course of thousands of years we may adapt to a more civilized existence, we are primarily barbarians with new toys and a slightly improved wardrobe.
While it’s good to romanticize the past, at least the beautiful parts, it is never acceptable to dwell on the evils of it. One can’t hope to change the future positively if they are always looking behind for an injustice that was committed in a time gone by when the offenders and the victims have long since been dead. It makes it more difficult to focus on the very real ills of our times when we remain focused on that which has already occurred.
We want to tear down statues of dead men and destroy inanimate objects as if doing so will erase the evils committed in those times. It would be far more productive to educate our youth about those crimes and the steps selected that finally overcame them to shape a brighter future for the entire nation. Instead, many would choose to focus on only the negative that came before and not the burning light of freedom that was released after. They don’t seem interested in developing a way to go forward as one nation that doesn’t alienate other portions of the population for atrocities committed by people that slightly resemble them. Can you imagine if we applied this logic worldwide? Only one person would survive, and the knowledge that they are the strongest and essentially the conqueror of all would yield minimal comfort without the ability to reproduce.
An attitude that focuses on past offenses is a self-defeating one. I submit that such a position will lead to more horrors instead of rectifying the past. The past can’t be remedied, and that is why we call it such ladies and gentlemen. It remains where it is always, and we can only deal with what is in front of us. The constant focus on the negative aspects of history lead rise to apparitions in the present. Not only are ghosts with no real power produced that further radicalize those that see just red, but this approach by the those wounded by phantoms also creates enemies out of the chromosome deficient among the groups they seek to villainize.
We need to proceed to a bright future as one people and not divide ourselves into groups and then set those teams against each other. People that focus on the negative aspects of history do so because they feel ill-equipped to face the present, and those villains from this history they decry become their oppressors in the present. While these wily despots just wish to be left alone to raise families and live life. Of course, exceptions do exist but they are few, and unless we make our differences a central theme for eternity their numbers will remain small. Focus on improving your lives and helping those around you. We should only see good and evil and separate ourselves accordingly; those are the only differences that matter.