The Human Propensity to Forget

I had a conversation with a rider in my car yesterday and we talked about the human propensity to forget. I quoted Doctor Who when the Doctor has been asked why humans seem to forget being invaded and whatnot and the Doctor replies about the human propensity to forget. I know that’s what will happen after the next year or so because we’ll have only lived through one year like 2020. But as I told my passenger, I remember my grandparents and how they were because they grew up in the 1930’s during the Great Depression then fought World War Two. They had two decades of poverty and uncertainty followed by a world war. They couldn’t forget if even if they wanted to.

And I don’t want to forget this past year. I know a lot of it will be painful but we can’t forget what happened. We can’t forget the best we saw, and the worst we saw. Most of all, we can’t forget how to handle another pandemic because as any epidemiologist says, it’s not a matter of if but when. Hopefully, we’ll have a much better response to the next one but I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people with their heads jammed up their asses in the future, too.

If my grandparents were alive I’d ask them how they got through the Depression and the war years. I’m sure they’d tell me they just put one foot in front of the other and kept going, that they just focused on getting through each day. But here’s the thing, so many people have been doing that for a long time because a recent report showed that fifty years of trickle-down economics hasn’t worked. That extreme-bullshit economic practice only creates a wealth divide that has had people living from day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck for too damn long. And if you think people just need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get their shit together, go fuck yourself. When you’re in survival mode, you don’t have bootstraps to pull up and no means to get your shit together because you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit as my father used to say.

But this is where the human propensity to forget comes from, that once the assholes get theirs they think they have every right to keep others from getting their fair share, too. To me, the human propensity to forget is willful and cruel.

The problem with people telling you to forget your shit and not talk about it at all is that it shuts down a person’s right to think and feel the way they do. Maybe someone isn’t as affected as I am by morgue trucks and kids in cages. I can see that but I sure as hell won’t have someone shit all over my feelings over that because they can’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. That’s where the true propensity to forget shit comes from: just not caring about anyone but yourself or those you deem worthy (but will cut off if you challenge their bullshit).

To anyone reading this here I say this: think and feel through your shit and pain and work through it. And if anyone tells you not to do that, tell them to fuck off and go to hell. We’re all going to be seriously fucked up by what’s happened just this past year with all the fear and uncertainty, and pain and suffering that we saw. I honestly don’t think my grandparents forgot what they lived through but I don’t think they felt too free to talk about it either. We’re not them and I say let’s talk about it. Because that’s what I’m doing here and in my writing in general- talking about things that may make people uncomfortable.

Discomfort and pain are no excuses to deny what you think and feel, or deny someone else’s thoughts and feelings. I’ve always said the worst thing I’ve ever had to work through is feeling I had no right to my thoughts and feelings at all, not just talking about them, but just about having them at all. It’s why I try to keep myself alone in real-life and only share with my writing. This is why I feel so isolated and have a lot of pent-up emotions when I don’t make the time to write. The old fear that someone will come at me for what I write is pretty much gone, which is a good thing because that’s one less piece of bullshit I have to deal with.

I will admit you may need to box some stuff up and put it away for a while because you’ve got other things to deal with. That’s okay but I will tell you this, if you go to that storage unit and start opening those boxes up, you probably won’t stop until you go through everything. I think that’ll be a lot of people in the years to come and I will tell anyone who might think that’s in their future it won’t be easy but it will be worthwhile.

We can’t forget the bad even if we want to, or try to. I think all we can do is learn from it, and put our foot down once and for all and say enough is enough. We need to take a stand and really stand up to fear, cruelty, and oppression. We need to call out bullshit and not stay silent in the face of hatred and cruelty. We need to start thinking and keep thinking and learning, and yes that won’t be easy. I’m glad my mother and father always told me things were going to be hard because at least I never had an expectation of life that wasn’t the reality of how hard life will get sometimes.

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