Who Remembers

Classic—a book which people praise and don’t read. ~ Mark Twain

Readers may have noticed that we’re more than somewhat fond of of the old-fashioned at the Fairfield House. It’s not so much that we’re trying to move backwards as we find it a useful way to look to the future. You can’t after all, know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.

However, it’s often not appreciated that we live in a time where we actually do know something of our past, or at least the past of people very much like us. For most of human history the vast masses of humanity were illiterate and so left no permanent record when they passed from this earth. What we know instead are the minute doings of kings, vassals, priests , and the wealthy–debris from lives of the once great, floating down a river of memory on fragile parchment rafts. We know of these people what they told us and not, incidentally, including how the brick maker down in town lived, or or how the local peasant farmers got by.

typewriter

In such ages, the comparative trickle of written words would grant every work outsized importance, but there’s no denying so much of great worth was produced. No one would seriously dispute the value of a Virgil, Shakespeare, or Dante; even if few bother to read them today.

Now of course in the the 21st century we have magnificent tools to express and record our thoughts. Still I wonder if our recorded thoughts by some chance survive the centuries, whether the world will be improved by them or if the insights of the best of us will have been drowned in a sea of trivialities. We who can say so much to so many with such ease spend much of our time recording and discussing the doings of the famous; it’s as though nothing has changed in the thousands of years since recorded history began.  Among so much noise, you must strain to hear the music.

In the end, I think it is not the record of the things we have done that will matter, but how we answered the questions of our purpose—why were we here in this narrow span of time. The moments of our lives are like the slow drip of water onto stones; wearing us away to nothing more than memories crafted by the yet unknown tellers of our tales.  Wherever our Shakespeare is, I hope he’s doing more than busily texting “ur bff 4evr” to a friend.

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6 Responses to Who Remembers

  1. Missy January 18, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Hey sweet lady! :) Isn’t it sad that we have such wonderful tools to express our thoughts in this day and age, and all we seem to glean from it are texts full of grammatical errors and shortened spelling. Kids aren’t even going to know how to spell the simplest of words, or make a clear point with all the texting lingo that’s thrown around today. I love the way authors from the past used to write…so smooth, eloquent and with such passion….nothing like many authors of today. :(
    I hope you’re doing well my sweet friend…I miss talking to you.
    Love ya loads!

  2. Debbie Refresh Restyle January 18, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Food for thought and a little chuckle. (I’m not going to say LOL) Have a great day.
    Debbie

  3. lisa moran/Bilancia Designs January 18, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    The art of fine lettering and such is practically a lost art. As a Calligrapher, it saddens me to think this practice has almost become extinct… I was raised to express gratitude with personal, handwritten notes and finding just the right, scented paper was always a treat. I’ve instilled the same in my children, even though texting is the “thing” today, there is still no excuse for bad manners. Emily Post, where are you??? ha ha…
    As always, your posts are thought provoking and true to those who once walked the halls of your beautiful Fairfield House.
    Have a wonderful day, Deborah!
    Lisa xo

  4. Adrian January 18, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Hello Deborah ~ I have to say, I resist new techy gadgets every step of the way. For Christmas this year, I received a new smartphone (I never felt very smart when I attempted to use it) and a Nook. My poor husband, back in the boxes they went. Apparently he doesn’t know me as well as he thought. I traded them in for a new lounging chaise in the bedroom and a day pass to Barnes & Nobel. Now I can read (real) books while lounging in my sunny bedroom. Now THAT is progress! Have a wonderful day ~ Adrian

  5. Susan G January 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Hello Deborah and Thomas,
    I am a big reader! my Father was a PRINTER. Although having a thin kindle(or nook etc) to hold with my wrist missing bones etc. would be easier, and less painful than holding up a book at night to read; I will never own one!

    I truly believe some technology is going too far. Craig Ferguson (who I adore), often makes a comment about a book or a newspaper, “for all you young people out there, a newspaper is a long, papery blog” (basically the same thing as the books)

    There is nothing cozier to me, that seeing a shelf full of good reads in someone’s home, or a complete wall of books (as in my LR…and then some, LOL) The ones on the shelves are either compilations or complete works or reference books. my ‘mindless’ reading…though I hate that term, are in boxes in the computer room, if I plan on keeping them to read again (mostly Dean Koontz, James Patterson, John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell and a few others).

    Books to me, mean “home”, as much as a cozy throw over the back of the couch, and fur babies.

    I also think books show signs of intelligence, and the eagerness to learn, explore, discover.

    Yes you can read these things on electronic devices, BUT…
    has anyone stopped to think about the collapse it will let to? Look at “Borders”…NATIONWIDE CLOSURE!!

    Less people working for publishing houses, printers no longer needed…lots of humans losing their jobs, their livelihoods. I think it is a crying shame, that NO ONE thinks about that when they come up with this stuff.

    Just like those robotic voices on the other end of the phone asking you to please press “1” etc. there used to be a lady or 2 doing those jobs, fielding phone calls, and sending them on to the right person.

    Maybe I am old fashioned but I’ll take a real book (even if after a few chapters I have to stop and rest my hand and wrist) over an electronic gadget for reading any day or night.

    I also prefer my phone call being answered by a voice that is controlled by neurons and a pulse to that of a computer chip!

    Amen to that!

    love n light,
    Susan

    Now i am putting this (my comment on my blog) you have me riled up! LOL

  6. Gwen January 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    Yes, gadgets have a tendency to spread the minuscule thoughts that would probably be better off unsaid. However, how would I ever have come across such wonderful people and such beautiful thoughts as yours without them?

    These gadgets, when used fully and deeply open our eyes to a world that we would never come across at the grocery store or the local coffee shop. For some of us, these gadgets are our lifeline, nay our life preserver from the black hole that our minds become and the closed hearts our neighbors show the world.

    I, for one, record and write my own history in secret in journal after journal. Will anyone ever read them in the future?

    See what U started?

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