the past in the present

The white man’s world: Memories of Empire by Bill Schwartz.Q 

Un-nameable, forgotten, invisible,  unspeakable: these are themes that keep recurring. In part they arise from the peculiarities of modern,  contemporary renderings of racial difference (in England) where the common languages of race have become deeply encrypted. Even the most unambiguous statements can teem with the nuance of unuttered meanings… These themes also arise as we deal with memory. The past is irretrievably absent. Even so the past still exercises it’s power over the present in ways which to us – as historical actors – are not just un-nameable, but largely invisible.  This exercise of power of the past on the present is itself uncanny, a perception we might understand to be the predominating property of memory itself. memory brings the past into the present, but does so under its own terms. If the events of the past are experienced as peculiarly difficult,  silence and un-speakability may continue long into the future and, as we know from the current literature on trauma, they may only come to be recognised at a much later time.”

100 days

“…in the space of less than 100 days 800,000 men, women and children were murdered, many chopped to pieces with machetes. The victims were mainly from the minority Tutsi tribe. The killers were mainly Hutus, the majority ethnic group. The killers were not some alien species or invading army, they were the former friends and neighbours of those they slaughtered, goaded into an orgy of hatred by an evil, insane regime determined to achieve ethnic purity.”

When the Hills Ask for Your Blood by David Belton – review

the joke

“Do stories, apart from happening, being, have something to say? For all my skepticism, some trace of irrational superstition did survive in me, the strange conviction, for example, that everything in life that happens to me also has a sense, that it means something, that life speaks to us about itself through its story, that it gradually reveals a secret, that it takes the form of a rebus whose message must be deciphered, that the stories we live compromise the mythology of our lives and in that mythology lies the key to truth and mystery. Is it an illusion? Possibly, even probably, but I can’t rid myself of the need continually to decipher my own life.”

Milan Kundera,  The Joke 

living in lies

“The moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful. Having a public, keeping a public in mind, means living in lies…”


Therefore: is my blog less honest than my written journal? Is it even meaningful to continue? Is not Kundera also “living in lies” in publishing?  He has a public afterall. Is his statement too sweeping,  or are most of us “making allowances “?