Memories: Fact or Fiction

Love. Anger. Laughter. Tears. Things that make up the movie that plays over and over in our heads as we think of the days of old. From past loved ones, present lovers, and future goals, everything we do shapes the path we walk. We are told past mistakes make up stronger, make us wiser, and make us better people. We are also judged by the past mistakes, choices, and love. We view things differently, at different times, with varying degrees. What is it that drive us to do the things we do? Ambition? Pride? Love? All valid excuses. I would like to take a different approach. I would like to believe we do the things we do not for power, money, and fame, but rather for the stories we can tell. I cannot lie and say that there can be supplementary reasons, but think for a second. How do we learn? The same way we create memories. How do we succeed, win, and prosper? By forging memories. Don’t believe me? Ask a person what they think of you. They base their opinions, faith, and hatred on what we have done, the memories we have shared. Memories are concrete, fixed points in time that defines who we are, what we do, and where we are. 

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, now for the real reason of my ramblings; Memories: Fact or Fiction?

As we go through life, we learn. We view our memories differently based on our current circumstances. Fact: We view past lovers, friends, and ideas differently based on the distance of time between the event and our current day.

We create memories that can last forever. Fiction: People, Places, and Wars are forgotten, erased, and changed as time passes.

Memories change based on the point of view. Fact: The “War of Northern Aggression” vs. The “War to end Slavery” 

Memories are who we are. Fiction: You, Me, Everyone. 

 

The idea behind memories is a tricky thing because of this.

So, I would like to propose an idea: memories are not real. Call me crazy, call me a fool, call me whatever. But to call memories finite and fixed periods of time would be a lie. Do memories not change like the weather? Are new ones not created like an artist creates a new work or art? Are memories not a living thing? Are memories not both truth and lies? Can memories not contain the light of truth and the veil of darkness? Memories are not a story, a piece of history, something that is finite and fixed. Rather memories are constantly changing. Memories are truth, but memories are also lies. Memories teach us lessons, but memories also lie. Memories remind us of good times and tempt us with deception. Memories can bring laughter and tears of joy and they can bring us anger and tears of grief. Memories are not dead, memories are alive. Memories are factual. But then again, we can discard memories, change them, and discredit them. Memories are fictional. Memories are everything and then they are nothing. 

Fact and Fiction. Truth and Lies. Light and Dark. Happy and Sad. Love and Hate. Who/what/where/when are your memories?

 

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History?

History, a three syllable word describing past events for anyone particular person, from anyone place, at any point in time. To bring it down a bit, history is the past. Such a limited term. History, as President John F. Kennedy once stated is “a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” History is not a current thing, but yet it has happened. It has happened but will happen again, if not is some similar way. A person is born, another person dies.
Since the beginning history has taken its hold and repeated, changing some, but always ending the same. Many have attempted to change history and leave their mark. Winston Churchill stated, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mendela, and Albert Einstein, all have changed the lives around them and are names that can be easily identified in our Wikipedia generation. One thing is in common among these great leaders, philosophers, and geniuses: a beginning and an end, death. Just as a light can be switched on and off, so too can the works of man be quickly snuffed and brought to an end. So I ask, what is history? Is it a field of study? Then any scholar with a piece of paper can become a champion of history. Is it a science? Then any lab coat can discover what it comprises of. Is it a set of rules open to interpretation to all? Then any rule maker, or rule breaker, can make decisions that seems plausible, possible, and pleasant. Many encourage the idea of the later.
How many people laughed at Vincent Van Gough, Martin Luther King Jr, and George Washington? These men were constantly questioned by other on their sanity, motivation, or even their heritage. Why not stop? Why not go home, find another lover, or just things be how they are and always have been? But what if they had, or, what if someone else had decided to do what has been done by another. What if Nelson Mendela was a famous boxer and Muhammad Ali was a famous musician and Beethoven a politician? Would things have been different? Would history not have fallen into the same puzzle it is today? Haven’t people copied the actions of others? Has each action resulted in an equal reaction? Today, we praise the U.S. Presidents of old for their courage to build a great nation on the backs of Irish and Asian workers and the near destruction of Native Americans, but Hitler is hated for his atrocities to the Jewish race and those deemed inferior. Today, the Union set a race free and is responsible for equality while the Confederacy is renounced as Rebels for enslaving a race to produce a living.
Today, what defines today? Can today not be a current state of history that is open to interpretation? In the 1930s, Germans had a great sense of pride and were a united nation, growing their economy, government, and courage. In the 1860s, planters of the South banded together to defend their land and way of life. The opinions of people change, and they change over time. So is it fair to say history is made up of scenarios that have changed over time? “We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it,” according to JFK. Change is a dangerous thing but also a way to a better life. Many do not like change; they would rather stay at the same point in their life until they die. History is set, but does it not change?

Children are told “you can do whatever you want and make history.” Is it not important to remember history so we do not repeat the same mistakes? But yet people make history every day. “The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice,” according to Mark Twain. We make our decisions knowing what our and other’s past actions have yield. In fact, is it not possible for us to discriminate what we see as history, what it means, and what should be done to change or enforce the past. So do we make history, or does history make us? Can we make a decision that has not been done or influenced by another?

We share common things such as religion, family, air, and political ideas. We claim to be catalysts of change, for new beginnings, ideas, and inventions. Yet we are all different, each unique in our opinions, attitudes, and genetic makeup. So are we not agents of change? Funny the word change. Change impacts those around us, the lives we live, and the lives others will live after us. So does our decisions create history, change history, or enforce history? Do we not make choices every day? Is there a point at which one decision is more heavily weighted than another? It can be agreed upon that what color shirt you wear does not impact whether your phone will blow up or not when you make a phone call. But what if early settlers in the Americas decided to trade clothes and candy instead of guns and bullets with Native Americans? What if Abraham Lincoln wanted to go for a night stroll in a garden instead of watching a play? What if Picasso wanted to paint a baby instead of a woman? Then the little decisions become large ones that could have changed history.
If history is impacted by decisions, then it cannot be fixed and cannot be repeated. But yet if we do not know what happens when we make a decision, can it impact our lives? Is knowing just as important as doing? We learn from our past mistakes to prevent future ones. If Benjamin Franking knew that flying a kite during an electric strike would have hurt, would he have done it? If setting of the first nuclear bomb would have lead to the modern war on terrorism, would it have been dropped? Then it becomes a “what if” game and history becomes more elusive.
History can be changed but yet repeated. It is the past but yet it influences the present actions that can change the future. Is it crazy to say history is the same as the present and the future? Is it crazy to say what we have done has been repeated for thousands of years? Is it crazy to assume that the future is set in stone because what has been done cannot be changed? The thing with history is that it is not a finite idea. It cannot be stated in an essay, preached in a church, or earned in a four year institution. History is and it isn’t. It has happened, is happening, and will happen. We make history and history defines us. So I ask, what is history?