2020: Thoughts about history


2020: Thoughts about history

by Sveta Soloveva

Friday, June 26, 2020

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My mother told me: “The main thing is not what's happening, but what's not happening.” She never explained what these words meant, and I treated them as something sacred, something that wouldn't need to be asked or confirmed. Besides, I realised subconsciously that I understood their meaning. They were indisputable, like natural phenomena. And I felt that owning this unique information helped me see things in more dimensions and made me more resistant to all the effects of what was happening.

But I also knew that it was only the emergence of the informational force somewhere under my skin, and I was thinking and waiting for it to penetrate my bones and heart and allow me to give an explanation to this “non-happening”, to give this a full-fledged life. As always, time, which just could not speak but knew everything, turned out to be smarter.

When I realised that 2020 would be remembered for the novel coronavirus, I thought about history. Hasn't this pandemic case become the headline of this year? It's strange to think that if it wasn't for the pandemic, then, perhaps, there would have been no history.

It turns out that if we take the expression “we are the history” or “we make history” seriously, our portraits look sad and we aren't doing a good job in accomplishing our mission. As paradoxical as it may sound, we usually say these words with a sense of pride in our intentions; forgetting that history is not only the present, and even not only the present or the past or the future, it is the union of all three dimensions. And when, even mentally, we destroy their balance, we also destroy the bridge that connects them.

Without building strong ties with the past and the future, we barely stand on our feet in one dimension until we and our concept of the present fall into the abyss. Our fall, which is the present, will be noticed, but the causes will remain in the past, while the ways to prevent another accident will be hanging in the invisible future.

Even though we know that, intuitively, we continue to see history as separate flashpoints, here they are! They are too terrible not to be noticed. But, to be honest, they are not so terrible compared to our unwillingness to replace them with another life.

“The main thing is not what's happening, but what's not happening.”

Although we don't want to examine historical constellations and look at history as a process, even our seemingly quick responses and actions will sail into the past. It's similar to a dance: If you missed one step, it's vain to think about it. You'll screw the rest.

Short-term economic and political incentives make us stagnate, while the universe is hoarding a grudge against our unscrupulous actions, and, eventually, throwing a pandemic, tsunami, or another cruel tantrum. Today's forced isolation is just a reflection of our chronic alienation from everything natural, everything living.

The coronavirus is just a reflection of the environmental crisis, which appeared in the mirror of our history. But history is not a reflection. History, as we like to say, is what we are doing now. So now we continue burning fuel, invading tropical forests and African savannas, cutting down trees, killing living organisms or depriving them of their natural habitat. Some viruses manage to survive our invasion, but without a place to live, where do they go? They are forced to seek refuge in people's homes. We ourselves domesticated them.

History is something that is not happening, but this is the most important thing. Sometimes, it is shocking or unbearable to hear about global losses, deaths, and destructions. However, instead of naming those events 'history' and being horrified, we can create a life that may transform the entire concept of history. It is not what we read or what surprises us, it is what we remember, because of the words we say, the actions we take, and the experiences we have.

If only we could look at life from different dimensions we would be able to turn it from a newscast into a feature film with a powerful meaning and strong actors. Oh, yes, and there's one more thing left for us to do: To understand that the main thing is what is not happening.

Sveta Soloveva is a journalism graduate in Toronto, Canada. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or svetabattle@gmail.com.

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