Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever – Day 30: This Encyclopedia

Banksy for the Wimp: Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever


What Encyclopedia? There never was one. Things to remember though:

1.) Humans throughout history have tried to kill ideas not just by killing other humans but by destroying the symbols and words whereof. It does not work.

2.) Humans have never lacked to find arbitrary differences between themselves and the next – whether it was gender, sex, skin color, religion, style of worship, life style, their noses, the way their pigs their spotted, their favorite ice cream flavor etc. –  to turn against each other and against each other’s things.

3.) It has always been humans acting, never monsters. It is in our human nature. What brings me to the next point:

4.) The excess seen has always been expression of all our behavior and attitude, just that some take it further than others.

5.) Therefore change happens first and foremost by how we approach the world and act. It’s a decision of each and every one of us in every moment of our lives – how we interact with each other, how we communicate, how we handle disagreements, what we value – and yes, how we treat refugees and how we react to terror.

A friend reminded me the other day of a Sartre quote: L’enfer c’est les autres. (Hell that’s the others.) If we think like that the Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever will grow and ever faster because we did evolve in one area – we evolved from spears and clubs to weapons of mass destruction.

But when I look back at history, look e.g. at the dark medieval times I see the birth of Renaissance, I see the sapling of scientific revolution, I see the steering of adventurers who’d go soon discover new worlds, I see Minnesang, Troubadours, Dante and the Medici. And I know we actually can do this since humans die, symbols are destroyed, but ideas live on.