Of all the ding-dong devastating lines William Faulkner ever wrote, perhaps the most telling and knelling is this one: The past is never dead. It's not even past.
Of course, that's more than just a helluva piece of writing. It's a helluva thought.
A lot of what we see, feel and hear disappears like your fist when you open your hand, but that line could be the stuff of every graduate course in whatever discipline you choose to follow. It could be a trillion Talmudic conversations. And the riddle of the Sphinx. It could be the subject of every conversation until the chiming of the last ding-dong of doom.
The trick in our era of course is that it's far easier to download things from the internet than it is to upload them to our brains. I'm not sure why the chieftains of world authoritarianism haven't yet banished, expunged and made illegal free, liberal thought. That's coming, I'm sure, but for now, you can find stuff like this online.
I'm thinking about the past never being dead, or even past because I am thinking about hate.
Faulkner was talking about the sins of our fathers.
The foundational sins of slavery, rape, murders, lynching, cruelty, and more.
The enduring foundational sins of America.
But he could also be the sins of all the world--including one of the oldest and most-enduring, anti-semitism.
That the past isn't dead or even past does not mean--not for a second--that we can't do anything about the evil mankind does. It does not excuse us thanks to Martin Heidegger's concept of "Thrownness." That we are thrown through the universe. We have to find love, foundation and stable. How we started is no excuse for how we wind up.
Maybe that's another way of saying what Dr. King meant when he said that the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
In other words, the road to hell is paved with Kanyes.
Haters. The doctrinaire. The blamers rather than responsiblers.The cosmologists, who attribute all evil and hardship in the world (as it's defined by them) on a people or a force or a belief they don't like.
If only __________ was eliminated, the world would be great again.
If only everyone believed in __________ like we do, the world would be great again.
That holocaust-ish myopia will never be dead. Or even past.
That's one way of fighting back.
If you can't read Faulkner, at least read this, by Faulkner. It's about the length of a two-minute web "film" on furniture polish or a hamburger topped with mac and cheese. From Faulkner's Nobel Prize Banquet speech. (And, please, no allegations of gendered. Man here is a proxy for humankind.)
"...I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."
That's hard to say with false teeth.