…Or ARE they?
We have long heard this phrase, and throughout the world we have been sure to teach the newest generations the most gruesome aspects of history with a passionate attitude of prevention. Yet, if this actually WAS the path to halting any present or future injustice, prejudice, crime, catastrophe, disease, etc., don’t you think we’d all be living the “Life of Riley” (a life of peace and plenty) by now?
Did you know that the moment you identify something as important or interesting (especially if you have a strong emotional response to the data), your Reticular Activating System (RAS), a network of neurons in your brain stem, goes to work to help you focus to find MORE examples of related things? It is the very same phenomenon that occurs when you take an interest in a new car, a travel destination, a memory, or a certain animal, symbol, number, etc., and then start seeing said “thing” virtually everywhere you go. It’s not a problem when your attention turns to things that are fun, innocuous, or desired, but—without meaning to—every time you focus on history that highlights the darkest aspects of humanity (or your life), your brain actually starts to look for more examples of that in the present.
Often, you start finding billboards, signs, films, songs, posts, etc., that spotlight these thoughts and ideas, but as you continue to give this data more of your focus and attention, it starts to translate into more personal conversations and interactions that hit closer and closer to home, until you have a direct experience of your own. And now that YOU have had this experience, it becomes YOUR belief that this is the definitive reality and “truth” that exists. So, even with the best of intentions, the more you (or any human) focuses on the horrors and injustices of the past (or YOUR past), the more this actually ACTIVATES an attraction (wanted or not) to events and experiences that bear the very same earmarks in the present and into the foreseeable future. The faces, places and circumstances may be different, but the essence of the stories remain the same.
Perhaps it’s time for a paradigm upgrade?
PRESERVE POTENTIAL FOR GOOD
“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”—Louis D. Brandeis, leading-edge former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Just like any multifaceted subject, there is so much about history that spotlights fascinating and inspiring aspects of life on Earth. For example:
I am deeply attracted to music history, the aeronauts and inventors of the late 1800s, the amazing architecture found in historic districts throughout the world, and the extraordinary contributions of brilliant minds in philosophy, literature, science, art and human potential of all ages.
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