The Limits of History – Selective Memory (Updated 2022)

Seattle, Washington

In the context of History, we believe the term is used to describe a significant event, of significant scale, in order for a significant number of individuals to see fit to agree that it is so.

Yet, a personal event is rarely worth such a significant title.

Most have a way to recall a life event and will assign it a name or a description of what they feel it was, within one’s own defined context.

What most individuals are not likely to call such a life event is History – their History.

History is nothing more than a moment past at any level of awareness, yet collectively there has been a silent agreement that scale of awareness is required in the assignment of the title. Even as you progress through this text you are experiencing your own History, yet you do not call it so.

How this has happened is a mystery. When we use the word History to describe an event in time, we assume that enough people are aware of it and its significance to recognize it as historic.

Even then the term is not universal, as further perspectives are also required. There are degrees of time and place in History we must also consider in order to maintain contextual continuity.

The birth of the Universe is Universal History – the beginning of all.

The forming of the Earth is Earth’s History.

The evolution of man is Human History.

The first human agricultural settlements are Cultivation History.

The first religions and faiths are Spiritual History.

The rise and fall of Empires and Nations are Empirical and Political History.

An event such as a riot, a new development, a new law, or a new industry is Local History.

Writings and oral traditions are Vessels of History.

Yesterday is Your History.

So why then are our past experiences – that have such profound importance to use – not worthy of the title of History as we remember them?

This may be the problem of scale. As we are social creatures it may be that, without an awareness of it, we assign a lower value to ourselves as individuals than we do a collective of persons large enough to assign the value of History to a shared context.

This hypothesis presents a perspective that one should consider in the governance of one’s life.

History has forgotten far more than has been remembered – by immeasurable magnitude. Therefore, History is as it has always been – a matter of scale, and of choice.

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