Did you ever imagine you would find yourself living in a time of historical importance? Does it overwhelm you? Or intrigue you? Or do you wish it would just all go away?
The historian in me is intrigued. The mythologist is in rapture. Both those sides of my work is, however, disturbed by this rampage to remove tangible history. I speak of the statues throughout the Western world that are being defaced and toppled, because of racism.
It is mindless to remove these statues. Here’s why.
Statues are set up as commemorative visuals. It doesn’t matter who is commemorating whom, the thing is, a few folks banded together to set up a three dimensional reminder of a human being, from a certain time, who accomplished something worth remembering. Sometimes there is more than one person represented in sculptures that reminds us of an event. Like the monument depicting the soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima.
It is a truth that some of the individuals depicted were not so great. Like Lenin. Or Robert E. Lee. And yet, as things have escalated, some individuals have been desecrated, like Queen Victoria and Abraham Lincoln, that have fine reputations.
Makes us pause to think this statue busting is not so innocent after all.
That aside, here’s my argument for keeping all the statues up, even Lenin’s. These statues are tangible history. Like anything that can be touched, like a building, or a piece of clothing, these pieces of history are as important as the books we read. Sometimes even more so. Because the tangible stuff can give us a better scale of what we are talking about. A room full of its old furniture gives us the scale of the people alive at that time. Their clothing gives us an idea of how they moved and if they were, or were not comfortable in that clothing. Because the how is as important as the what. A statue can give us a moment to look a person in the eye. To imagine him, or her, alive. Animated.
Indeed, many statues are placed on pedestals which raise the person above us. Now here is where changes can be made. For I am of the opinion that many personages aught to be brought down to eye level, so that we can indeed look them in the eye. Here are my ideas on the what to do, and why.
1-Nefarious people need to be studied. Like Lenin, for example. The warning is, the more you would study this man, the more you will find he’s not so easy, because he’s a complex human being. Like the rest of us. So I don’t want him destroyed, or hidden away. Remove him from his pedestal, certainly. Bring him down to our level. Let us see that evil is a human trait, we are all capable of it. In addition to this, place summaries of his life next to the statue, along with the data of how many people perished under his watch. But do not erase him. To erase him means no such people exist. But they do, so don’t let it be forgotten. This is the same reasoning used to keep the concentration camps intact. So that we don’t forget.
2-It is a good idea, methinks, to bring most statues down off their pedestals. And for the same reason.
. We can all accomplish good things. For example, let’s look at Queen Victoria. She was quite the petite lady, which means most modern people have to look down to peer into her eyes. So here’s the message: It doesn’t take a big body to accomplish big things. It take a huge will to carry things to their full fruition.
She too will have a life summary next to her, and a data sheet of her accomplishments, good and bad.
My next book is titled, Humanity, the Great Dichotomy. In it, I address the conflicted human race. I repeat, people are complex. We all have hypocrisies. Unless one is a narcissist, we can see our faults, and work on them. This can only be accomplished on an individual level. You have to fix you. No one else can. You have to take responsibility for you. No one else can. I repeat what Dr. Jordan Petersen said, if you want to make the world a better place, make yourself a better person. Don’t be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution. And the solution is not about destroying anything except your old, bad habits.
If you go along with the destruction of our civilization, you will either be dead, or having to rebuild it. That rebuild could kill you too. I am of the mind that most people don’t want it burned to the ground. So it will have to be fought for, and yes, some will die for its continuation. If you don’t want it brought to that extreme situation, then it is best to push back now, and try new ideas in preserving it. Begin by recognizing the past for what it is, and the past cannot be changed. Only who we are today can be changed. That takes imagining the future.