8.2 Dispensing With The Notion That Individual Memory, Or Collective History, Is Accurate

Before we being any survey of history and Story, or rather our compilation of a tiny subset of a precession of remembered events from different cultures, and the story that we tell our Selves to make sense of it, it would be good to pause to permanently dispense with the notion that our individual memories, or collective history, is accurate or True.

Studying history as though it were an accurate record of what actually happened is so preposterous that we accidentally do it all the time.

Even your individual memories of your own life, which you actually experienced, are not an accurate record of events. The purpose of memory, and the purpose of history, is not to record what actually happened in all its minute detail.

It is to record approximately what we experienced during certain key moments in our experienced reality, and to store the material elements of that experience in order to inform us how to better live and not die, succeed and not fail, flourish and escape harm in the future.

The information that is stored is not the total reality of what happened. It is the little bit, from our narrow perspective, that we need to know in order to protect ourselves, advance, and move competently and safely into the unknown future.

If one has any doubt that this is true, just try figuring out what you are arguing about with your significant other, and see if you can agree on who said and did what to lead to the conflict. You will soon find out that the reality of what happened is maddeningly different from what either of you believe, and that you are both telling yourselves a story, based on experience, that is informing conflict because one or both of you is not having their current needs met, or fears that their needs will not be met in the future.

In a war, for instance over a resource that two tribes or clans both want to secure for their current and future wellbeing, one party usually ends up dead, enslaved, or subordinated to the other.

The experience of the (dead) one who has been defeated is buried and forgotten, and the triumphant experience of the victor is recorded in the annals of history.

In order to tell a complete history, we would need to hear the sides of those trodden over and defeated. The secret meetings and whispered betrayals. Unfortunately their stories have largely perished with them, so we will never fully know or understand what truly happened.

Let us permanently dispense with the false notion that our individual memories or recorded history are accurate, but rather see them for what they are:

A remembered precession of events, arranged in narrative form, that tell us what we think we need to know in order to live / flourish / succeed, and not fail / suffer / die, in the future.

It is extremely liberating to disentangle the Truth and Reality of what actually Is, from the stories we tell ourselves about our individual and collective past.

Not only is it liberating; the future of our civilization and species depends on it.

Forward to 8.3 Speaking In General And Glossing Over The Sacred Stories And Traditions
Back to 8.1 The Remembered Precession Of Events
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