It should be a question that we ask of ourselves and others: When did history stop for you? At the very least, it would give pause to think whether our actions match our words. At the most, it would cause us to reflect on our own history to see if it’s something that not only would we be proud of, but so would others looking from the outside in. Sure, it’s an enormous request when we have to make momentous decisions every day of our lives. But isn’t that what life is about? Why are we here? What is my purpose? Am I living up to my best abilities that not only helps myself, but others around me?
The question of life is portrayed as a philosophical one, and yet it is the most important question of our lives. Our histories drive our thoughts, emotions, decisions, and actions. But we seem to overlook the fact that while history is extremely important for lessons learned, it is still just one tool that we use to help us live our lives.
So, again, when did history stop for you?
- Was it when you lost something or someone much loved?
- Was it when you choose to live the past, instead of moving forward with the experiences and lessons learned from that moment?
- Was it when you picked a path that forces you to live the same everyday, without question and without judgment?
- Was it when you actively pushed your belief on others, with the sole purpose to move that belief forward at the expense of everything else?
These type of questions can go on forever and should. Much like the needed social debate on topics that affect all of us equally. We tend to follow the path of least resistance. It’s a much easier way to live when life gets too hard to face. But when you find repetition to be constant, and knowledge to be receding, then isn’t it time to ask some other questions?
- Are we just doing this because it’s always been this way, and there are no other alternatives?
- When did “accepted” become “only acceptable”?
- Why do some seem to have more decision power than all of us put together?
- What does “we’re all in this together” mean to you?
- Why should we just accept it because we’re told to?
History isn’t just about the telling of it. It’s also about the learning from it, so that we not only learn from it but also move forward while making conscientious decisions that make exact repetition less likely. If things are repeated as they’ve happened in the past, then what have we truly learned? If a path is less traveled, then why can’t we explore it to potentially change everything we know? Why are we so afraid to grow into the unknown, when the unknown is full of so much potential?
Partial map of the Internet in 2005
All around us, our modern times are showing how little forward momentum the collective society seems to desire. In contrast, the individual people living in these societies are not all quiet participants of status quo. Some want a future, any future, that is different and better than the present for all of us. Some of us understand that it’s important to remember the horrendous times, but do not wish to lift these moments themselves onto a pedestal. History isn’t just about the telling, but it’s also about the living. When you ignore the spirit to adhere to the letter, then you really don’t respect that important spirit that animates the letter. Letters combine into many options, and not all of them are good. The spirit is the intent of those combinations, and that is up to the individual who is acting upon it. So it can vary from person to person, in the same way that letter combinations can be twisted from their origin.
Good or bad? Right or Wrong? Loyal or disloyal? “Or” is a figment of our imagination. These are all up to us individually and collectively. Just like the world is made of both, so are the consequences of actions. No single person can predict every possible outcome. That’s why we have society: to debate with our own personal experiences so that we understand other perspectives. If we’re not allowed to debate, and if we’re forced to conform, then where does freedom even come into the light?
Things like surveillance may seem above your daily concerns, and something that only involves the state, but they are actually the foundation of how you can live your life. Once lost, things are harder to gain them back, especially freedoms. So, it’s vital that we recognize that the world is a very big place that involves each and every one of us to make it turn. You are what make history move forward. You are who stands against those who refuse to move past a moment in time. You are the potential new path that we all need.
History shouldn’t stop anyone. Because if it does, then our futures are in jeopardy. So, speak up when history requires you to.