Friday, February 11, 2011
Through the glass darkly...
"We are living in historic times."
I don't have any idea how many times I've listened to a media commentator say that line. What are historic times? And what makes one time more historic than another? Are certain events more worthy of the title historic than others?
What determines whether one revolution is more historic than another? Is it the number of people who die? Or is it the amount of money involved?
Why is one storm an historic storm and another is not? Again, is it the number of people lost or the property destroyed? Or is it the arbitrary numbers bestowed by the meteorologists?
Is one election more important than another because of race? Or are the issues still important?
How many people must a serial killer murder before that total is considered historic? Is that total more historic if most of them are children? Or does any human count?
Every day is an historic day. At some future time humans (maybe even you and I) will look back on today. Some of us will remember this day for purely personal reasons. Some of us will recall international issues. But for one reason or another, we will have the memory of this day somewhere in our minds.
It seems our minds are so stuffed with the debris of living day to day that we only have immediate recall for the truly terrible or the incredibly sublime. With increasing frequency we are unaware of the lesser events that surround us. We ignore the single child who is abused because his or her suffering is not as spectacular as the dozen children who were killed by an insane stranger. We ignore the house fire around the corner, often having no idea who even lived there because after all, it's only one house--not an entire neighborhood.
I wonder at what point we will begin to notice the events surrounding us? Or...are we already too late?