forgetting vis-à-vis human condition (nature) / by IKB

Not too long ago, several months if I am not mistaken (and to be honest, I am hardly ever mistaken!), I read a marvellous quote. I shivered at the brink of an epileptic attack, my lower lip quivered; to say the least, I don’t know how I managed to contain myself! Gad, how fantastic! But in all the excitement, I closed the book and lost it.

I am at a loss to recreate its prosaic elegance. It was raw honesty, a rapturous roller coaster of ecstasy. I have yet to recover from it. It was if I had been instantly told that my world was nothing more than mere fiction, a pernicious and fatalistic lie told by equally fatalistic romantics. And there is nothing more onerous than fatilistic romantics! And, I do speak with authority, for a brief period of my life, I had become such a pathetic being. Fortunately, I grew out of this phase, like a butterfly breaking free from his cocoon. Some say I have become worldy and am corrupted. I’d like to think of myself as a ravenous consumptive. It’s not that I am intent on killing myself, never! no, I simply am intent on making a raucous show if it all. Death is eminent, every breath of putrid air brings me closer. Surely, I shall gasp until the end, viciously attached to this life but exuberantly awaiting what is yet to come.

But do forget what I have just said, it is not that I fear being taken as a cynic (this dog no longer has a bite), but rather, such honesty is beyond us. So we call it cynicism. We cannot tolerate honesty, honestly, we cannot. It is beyond us. We were not designated for it. And when we are confronted by it, staring us intently in the eye, we turn around. “Who’s there? Show your face, I demand it!” Yes, what a show indeed! Alas no fracas results from the confrontation, but ignorance. It cannot be any other way.

“To forget and – I will venture to say – to get one’s history wrong, are essential factors in the making of a nation; and thus the advance of historical studies is often a danger to nationality …. Now it is of the essence of a nation that all individuals should have much in common, and further that they should all have fogotten much.” – E. Renan.

Forgetting is an intrinsic and essential aspect of human condition. It is necessary for survival. Thanks to forgetfulness, a woman who has gone through the labors of birth, is able to do it again. It is not that she is simply stupid or doesn’t know better, but it is her nature – it is human nature – to forget. So she and every other human being goes on.

To forget is to go on.