Thursday, October 26, 2006

The meaning of history

Talking with my 16 soon to be 17 year old daughter has become more and more of a chore for both of us as she moves into the habits and deceits of adulthood and its attendant alienations. But it is always worth it as I get to hallucinate backwards into my own high school memory miasma and get reminded where my demons come from. Clearly they don’t come simply from high school, but its certainly one area where they do come from.

The little voices in my daughter’s head have been put there by her parents, teachers, peers and god knows what other projectors of the American mentalit√© but as we were talking I could see simply they are actually alien to her spirit. “Aaron Burr” she said, “is longer than I though it was.” This book she is reading was this mornings worrying burden. And so we take our worrying burdens around with us until they become little robotic architectures of concern that rarely let us have a moment of peace. When somebody talks in a history class about our Puritan roots, this is exactly what the fuck we should be thinking about. A little Puritan devil robot has been injected into the minds of way too damn many of us and it makes us all alienated from the ground we walk on.

The meaning of history is that these memes or whatever some scientist might try to call them are the ghosts of our forefathers, spewing their regrets forward into the future for as far as we have the lack of imagination to cull their shit from our brains. And shit we have in our brains, given our desultory present of war and gasoline. The Cadillac Escalade parked in front of us at her school is an emotional reaction to something in the world that is beyond reason and colored with hubris. The person who drives it marks their personality with just one of the most obvious shades of brainshit that the Puritans (Republicans?) have bequeathed us. And there are ten thousand more flavors of these little demons floating about in each and every one of our heads, and its no wonder we try to stun them out with drink or sex or some sort of sensory overload because they are parasites on our free enjoyment of our own liberty to figure this world out for ourselves.

History is bunk: this is supposed to bug a historian but frankly it has gained a new appreciation in my lexicon thanks to my daughter. Not because she would ever say it out loud. What I see in her eyes is the dull polluting sheen of our smoggy past. Don’t ever forget that there were a tremendous amount of assholes that lived in the past. Try not to honor them with your worried mind.

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