Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The collective human memory loss

A friend has been hammering me on our European collective memory loss. His views are correct though incomplete. The entire human race “suffers” from a collective memory loss. Psychology articles claim this is an evolutionary advantage (eg, BT-2023). It enables us to be survivors and not victims.

There is an “exception” to the above. Several scientific articles argue that some of our human fears appear to be hardwired in our DNA. With hindsight, my 2015 blog Why do we hate insects? might have been an example. Apparently, this genetic transfer of fears also applies to other lifeforms.

Recently, several newspapers reported – again – that young people are doubting the number of Jewish casualties in WW2 (eg, NBC-2020, NPR-2023). In my view, this is part of our human memory cycle, being history, legends and myths. Also see my Tolkien quote below.

Some people prefer not to forget – let alone forgive. They keep hammering us on “our” historic crimes and demand reparations (eg, climate, slavery, WW2). They suggest to us that reparations will make them forget about “our” crimes, though (probably) not forgive. They remain in a victim role.

The downside of our collective human memory loss is that we tend to forget the predictive role of history. Wiki: “Historic recurrence is the repetition of similar events in history.” In the words of George Santayana (1863-1952): “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In my view, our collective memory loss (also) relates to the eternal cycle of Doubt, Fear, Hope & Love. Without hope, there is no future for us. Living with doubt and fear only, will bring your mind to its dark side. I suppose that our collective memory loss is an evolutionary necessity to enable hope.

For some reason, the song below just entered my mind. Indeed, it could be argued that our collective memory loss provides the thin line between love and hate.

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.”

A quote from the 1954 novel The Lord of the Rings by author J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973),

Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1971) by the Pretenders (1984)
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

It’s a thin line between love and hate

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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