Tag Archives: being alive in the past

9 Nov. 2019: An Image and an Idea

An abstraction drawn in Journal 313 on 9 Nov. 2019.

φ  Maybe the shocking thing about history, about the past, is that it really wasn’t (isn’t?) any different to be alive then as now. Perhaps they look at the world around them (technological, economic, political, social) more or less as we do today—even using “we” is problematic because there’s probably more difference between any two people’s lifestyles, worldviews, conceptions than … well, I’m trying to compare this to differences between being alive now and being alive then. But to make that comparison, I’m relying on my own memories and trying to conceptualize and characterize (describe) what it’s like to be alive now and in 2011, say, or 1995, or 1981—and if instead I’m thinking of 1940 by what my grandfathers Lorin or Ernest (or, frankly, anybody else) thought of or did in those times, then I’m trying to understand their world through their words and actions. And with anyone else, it’s even harder to understand them so that I can see how they’re interpreting the world. It’s a tricky , perhaps only marginally valuable, way to learn about the world. But maybe the first wrong step, or misleading step, is imaging that times were different. Maybe it’s like trying to imagine now my neighbors or students or colleagues or politicians imagine/conceive of this world. I don’t think I understand how my neighbors, my fellows alive at the same time I am alive, think. [9 Nov. 2019 entry in J313]