Every New Year we decide to create the past. The year that was is no longer an ongoing saga, but something that happened. That was then. Now becomes the future. This year is a wish; a hope; maybe an intention.
When we are in a positive mood looking toward the possibilities of the new year, we accentuate the favorable, as though we know how to conquer the negative now.
We look back at what went wrong, and how we were oppressed and/or depressed, and vow to do differently going forward.
We celebrate surviving that which terrified us or traumatized us, or whatever we had to get through, and imagine not having to face such situations again, because time is on our side now.
We look at History and compare and contrast to previous moments, characters, and events. We think this time will be different. It’s so many years (decades, centuries,….) hence; we are better.
We like to believe that we have progressed to the extent that basic human qualities—the ones that tend to drive history—have been mastered. And yet, in each generation, the dramas are reenacted.
We believe we bury the past with the promise of each new year. Somehow though, Zombies walk among us. The fascist from a century ago; the Nazi; the homophobe; the misogynist; the racist; the ones who seemed to be not of this era, but who desperately want to redefine it in some retro-limited way. How is this possible? Isn’t time progressive? Isn’t Evolution ultimately positive transformation?
When anger, resentment, ignorance, and other negative emotions arise in conditions that breed negativity, historical moments seem to repeat themselves. Is it 1919? Is it 1939? is it 1968? Is it 1974? When will we have the next Katrina? Will we have another 9-11 soon?
Of course it is helpful to have historical markers—to remind ourselves and learn the lessons of History. We forget too quickly and assume that progress and evolution don’t have to be reinforced. Ignorance isn’t merely lack of acquisition of information and knowledge. It is lack of awareness. It is also a lack of inclusive thought.
We don’t have to relive previous years in the next year. We have learned quite a bit about how to progress and how to persist to overcome the inevitable setbacks (and worse). We can use those historic markers to inspire bigger thinking. We have an even clearer picture of the threats and bile and just negative aspects of human nature (and Mother Nature) now. But we have always progressed by nurturing the best and creating anew. The regressive, negative aspects will always challenge us, but we don’t have to think like it’s the same year next time.
It’s 2019!! Happy NEW Year!