It has been said that things are never quite what you think they are. Everything we see, hear, taste and experience is tainted by our perception. What one person sees as beautiful may be quite ugly to another person. You may think chocolate is heaven in your mouth while someone else may think it is beans and sugar mixed with tiny bug larvae. There is no accounting for taste. There is no rule book for enjoyment or pleasure. There is no one size fits all, or even most.
History is a collection of ‘facts’ or events recorded by people that had their own perception or taste of things. Even if a person wrote something down exactly as they saw it….it would still be “as they saw it.” It would still be tainted by their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and taste. Everything is biased.
Thinking about it like this….can make a person very frustrated, and even closed minded at times. On the other hand, thinking about things like this can also open person’s mind if they let it. It can make a person feel more connected to the human family because of all the insights into different people’s perceptions. What makes it ‘fiction’ can make it ‘fact.’ Does that make sense?
You may ask what started my thought process. Well, I’ll tell ya. I opened my laptop and started typing the first thing that came to my mind. Literally the first thing I thought of was the title. The next thing was the first sentence. It just kept going from there. As my fingers typed, I found my mind wandering to the movie I saw the other night about Shakespeare and what some or one person’s ‘perception’ could be about who he really was or wasn’t. Who really knows? Who really cares?
There have been lots of books and movies and even TV shows lately about the Tudor family. The majority have portrayed them as a bit…egocentrical, wordly, lusty, and basically naughty group of people. I don’t know if it is all true or not. I don’t know how I would feel if people decided to drag my name through the dirt after I am long gone. It doesn’t really matter I suppose….
I think it is interesting how people remember things tho. Even when I am relating a story to my kids or parents or a friend…I can hear myself ‘tweak’ it in a way that will make it more interesting to the audience I am telling it to. I keep it factual, but focus on different aspects to keep attention or to get the reaction I am hoping for. Does the fact that I may tell the same story different ways to different people make the story less or more true? I don’t think so….
My mother is studying to be a story teller. She does a great job. I love how engaged she gets when she tells her stories. It is fun to watch. I wish I could go see her gigs more often, but I am a busy mom these days. She told me today about how ‘in the old days’ when a story was passed down orally, the person receiving the story had to memorize it word for word. I wonder how hard that was and how often the new teller would change it anyway to fit his/her personality. I personally cannot tell a story the same twice. I have to change it up. Otherwise…it sounds staged and boring. When I tell a story, it has to be personal. I play off the people listening and try to keep their attention.
So my point is this. If the people writing down history are the same as I am…and they enhance different parts of the history they are writing down to keep the interest of the people they assume will be reading it….how do we every know what really happened in our past? It kind of makes my head spin a bit….(not hard to do). They say that we should study history because history repeats itself. Maybe that is a clue….a lesson that is trying to be taught. Maybe there is a format or ‘lesson plan’ when writing history. ‘Write this so they will/won’t do these things.’ Maybe it is all a big plan. Interesting, no?
I actually do think it is a big plan. Nothing is left to chance, yet we have the ability to choose for ourselves. Maybe that is why we are encouraged to keep a journal. If everyone wrote down their own perspective of their own lives…we could mesh them all together in some super duper computer blender type thing and maybe, just maybe, we could get a clear picture of what the world is really like. Maybe….just maybe….all we would see flashing on the screen at the end of the blend would be a huge 42. Hey, it could happen…cause I said so. 🙂