Monday Aphorism: Revisionism

The news this time is that, as Orwell depicted, the thinkers of the right have learned about the power of the idea of history, especially in its rewriting. It is, deeply in our psyches, the idea of how we got here which informs our thinking about each present moment. More importantly, it is the idea of how we got here which virtually makes the reality of experience continuous. Thus the notion of revision of history, its rewriting and recasting, has a powerful effect on how we consider where we are…that we are. The notion of history is of course, rewritten or recast often in various senses.

We effectively lose time in some aspects of our lives, concentrate on particular facts to the detriment of others, forget in some ways and cannot in certain others. But we rely on the belief that it did happen and is theoretically recapturable with the right witness or upon deep reflection or study. When the belief in history is lost, when we are not certain that we were, then the present becomes very negotiable, and charisma or some “fall into belief” becomes powerfully persuasive.

We use history, rather the belief in history, to tell ourselves where we are, who we are and are not, and what meaning is. The “right” whatever else may be, is conservative, is particularly invested in history psychologically, because the conservative mind decides early in life what it is, essentially, and compares each next day with that vision of who one is. When the conservative mind learns revisionism, what measure is there to judge, to measure, to decide?