Maybe something that’s odd about me is that I value learned ideas way more than the ones I’ve inherited from my mom and dad, and their grandparents’ grandparents’ ancestors’ teachers and etc. Who do I think I am, that I can just turn my nose up at this ancient chain that connects me to my history? Do I think that personal agency, my free will or whatever, grants me the right to make all that invalid?
The answer to that, by the way, is no.
Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from school it is that you can’t deny history; you can’t tell yourself that you’re going to escape its clutches and become independent of it, because it’s every bit as alive as you are. It’s as much a part of you as your blood, or your dark, all-encompassing, emotionally-abusive-partner type hunger for Girl Scout Cookies. And believe me when I say that pretty much every attempt to deny the existence of those parts of you is going to lead to some real, serious consequences, the very least of which is diabetes.
People have tried to do this in the past. Inspired by one breakthrough or another, we claimed that the world was ready for a new era, and used that optimism to justify acting as though the past had never happened. Remember World War II? Do you think Hitler could have demagogue’d his people into militarization if the Allied powers hadn’t been so incredibly ready to just get World War I over with and blame everything on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles? Do you think that African-Americans in the 1950’s and 60’s would have revolted in the city streets if they hadn’t been treated, for literal centuries, as lesser? And so do I think that ignoring my history and turning up my nose at the things that anchor me in time, is anything short of insane?