Everyday from sunup to sundown, the world and the people in it live out a continuous story, one that continues to be written millennia after millennia. This story is always shifting and molding, bringing new opportunities as well as challenges. It runs chronologically, everyday eating up the one before, months stacking into years, years stacking into decades until decades eventually blend into centuries and millennia.
Most days pass by without any world shattering events, the world seemingly mundane and stagnant in one’s everyday life. Nonetheless, just as much as the Earth runs around the sun and the continents slowly drift apart in mid ocean ridges, change, however quite, is always on the clock.
As anyone who has read a history book most likely knows, this story is not always pretty. Although the world has progressed from times past, it is important to remember all of its aspects in order to better understand how it got to where it is now.
In a story this week in the Settler, Caleb Baldwin covered a lecture given by Melanie Cochran on the Civil Rights Movement in the 50s. In an interview between Baldwin and Cochran, the theme of relevancy to such a topic to today’s world was explored. Cochran stated that even though the 50s seem like an long time ago, they weren’t. On top of that she explained it is important to analyze these stories to understand how society and its people got here and how to move forward in the face of that.
In a separate conversation with Mark Granlund, an instructor in music at Volunteer State Community College, he explained the importance of maintaining the stories, events, and people in history. He admitted history is not always pretty nor peachy, but time moves forward and with it comes new knowledge and better understanding of our world and how to live in it. He explained it is wrong to attempt to rewrite history to fit our views, to deny the ugliness of it to fit it in our current frame of the world.
There are plenty of things one looks back on appalled and with shock as to how such things could be allowed to happen. From millions systematically slaughtered in Germany in the 1930s, lynchings in America used to terrorize and control African Americans, to millions dying from starvation in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. These are just in the past century . This story, the story of humanity, is rife with unfathomable events.
Disgust, shock, and confusion are all appropriate responses to these things. In the face of questions of why and how, one can begin to try to accept what happened, and to learn from it so that the world never strays that far again. Anyone has most likely heard, “History repeats itself.” This is true, if one is ignorant of history itself, or chooses to push it to the wayside. However, it doesn’t have be like that. Instead of trying to ignore our story, it is important we understand it to help us with our footing moving forward. The eyes of the world of 100 years from now on are on us, on today’s world. They will judge how we moved forward, the lessons we learned and chose to ignore and the changes we decided to enact versus the crying change we turned deaf ears to.