Meaningful pasts: Post #11

1. What objects from the past do you particularly treasure?

All, with a greater interest for artefacts and sites that are well preserved. Likely because it’s easier, for me, to “picture” what it might have been like to live at that time (whatever time this may be.)

On another note, objects from our own past: I find these help reconnect with our ancestors (be they a grand-parent or the first ancestor who came to Canada, for example.)

2. Do you think that some objects from the past are best forgotten?

As distressing as some objects may be, they are all part of our past and better be known; otherwise, we end up with family secrets that tend to get reenacted subconsciously with the same subconscious hope of being resolved. While, when known, the events associated to such objects have a better chance of being renegotiated as opposed to reenacted. (Concept from Peter A. Levine in his book: Waking the Tiger)

3. What intangible pasts (e.g. customs and languages) are meaningful to you?

Evolution of ideas, through philosophy, or science, and the interaction of the latter with religious beliefs and how they influenced (and still do) each other (e.g. sun revolving around earth) as well as the “hidden” psychology behind them (e.g. from the determination that the sun revolved around earth… is it possible our narcissistic nature created a belief where we were the central piece?), which I find fascinating.

4. How is it best to preserve these intangible pasts?

By offering experiences that involve the 5 senses and 9 types of intelligence (Howard Gardener: Theory of multiple intelligences, such as musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, intra and interpersonal, etc.) Stories, theater plays, reenactments, museum exhibitions, caves visits, etc.

5. If we save more and more objects and intangible pasts, is there a danger that there will be too much past in the future?

And what would this “danger” be? What would be its impact? I am wondering if a more “neutrally” postulated question would bring a broader range of answers. By asking if there is a “danger” or “risk” that there might be “too much” past in the future, is it possible this may lead to a negative view of such an integration of the past in the future? What if it were a “chance” or “possibility?” How could this change the answers?

In any event, saving more and more objects and intangibles from the past doesn’t mean we integrate them in our daily habits. Even if some were to do this, whether it is too much or not enough depends on very personal criteria and values. For example, a Mennonite might be viewed as someone who does not evolve with his time by one who is interested in all new discoveries that makes life so much easier; conversely, he may be viewed by another as one who is still living in harmony with nature and minimizing his footprint on this overly polluted planet. How much is too much, and based on what?

Female, 40s, manager in the public service


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