Examples of rewriting history are common in films and literature, especially about historical events or situations that have had a deep impact on our collective sense of who we are and what we have been through as a people, or as a nation or a culture. What really happened behind the scenes of JFK’s assassination is in the news on this 50th Anniversary week from that fateful date of November 22, 1963. Who was really responsible or what might have happened with the slightest twist of circumstance are common re-write themes, although the latter is less frequent or acceptable than the former. “What happened, happened!,” seems to many to be the practical response to remembering and commemorating history.
We can’t go back and change the facts. But still, re-memberment (reassembling how the facts fit together) and re-“visioning” what might have happened IFF has value beyond either escapism or denial. Might the Holocaust have been avoided or averted if its precursory social and political-economic conditions were recognized and somehow dealt with before they could coalesce into the horrific institution of the Third Reich? Several organizations and research projects exist today aimed precisely at changing the future by studying past and present trends and anticipating dangerous patterns. The TV program Futurescape which previewed last night on the Science Channel included a presentation about one of these organizations which tracks potentially volatile conditions in countries around the world.
Aristotle stated famously: “If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” Socrates is attributed with the similar one-liner: “The unexamined life is not worth living for humans.” So, what are the connections between the history of a people and the life history of one person, e.g. me or you? Re-visioning history is a practice that can help us to apply wisdom in our own lives. As this one year blog proceeds through twenty six weekly topics, many of those will apply to revisiting our own past (and future!) events, situations, and choices.
But for now, for this week’s adventure in Better Endings imaginings, write on! No rewrite of history is too small or too large for our canvas here. Please just go ahead and Submit your stories (and your and Comments or Insights below each Post), even if it is just a brief idea. I will be sure to pass along every viewpoint (within reason) that you send.
- James Woods dares to dream big about science in his TV show ‘Futurescape’ (examiner.com)
- Futurescape (scifitalk.com)
- JFK assassination: Watershed for US history, and for television (thegazette.com)