Historical, Hysterical Boolean
What is history? Is it all just a study in constrained justification? The importance and scope of this question for our times is only vaguely and then only imperfectly understood. Despite this lack of comprehension, and whether we like it or not, we dwell in the midst of this question, only rarely, if ever, experiencing it as a question but continually confronted with and challenged by its various answers. The question itself permeates all of our thinking about our civilization and ourselves. History becomes the arbitrary mirror which frames our existence by reflecting the actions that have occurred before it. The power of the arbitrary conversation is that it allows us to measure the distance from such a question. All decisions we make on one level or the next are indeed arbitrary, but their ability to enlighten the road ahead is what makes their use measurable. The question "What is history?" asks whether history is the human actuality or merely the product of human imagination; a product of complete arbitrary solidification. History, however, cannot be merely accepted or rejected for that would only be a further digging of the arbitrary conversation. For better or worse it is an integral and inescapable part of our lives. What is necessary, then, is not action but thought, not acceptance or rejection but reflection. What is more, the question of what is history is synonymous with who and what I am in history.
Discovering our place in history’s composition reveals our perspective and place in time and space. History is man’s mirror of existence, our reflection of actions, events and their shadows. Mirrors, as a physical object, are limited; they only reflect that which can be reflected and only those that fit within its frame and edges. Mirrors inherently conceal just as much, even more, than what they reflect. Could the same be said for history itself? Is history’s main effect not that of discovery, but of concealment?
Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side. When you drop any new idea in the pond of the world, you get a ripple effect. You have to be aware that you will be creating a cascade of change. The only moment a mirror is capable of presenting us with both its effect and material existence is when either is compromised. A scratch, a crack, even a blemish to the surface would force the material and effect to converge on this fault. Only in this moment would the schizophrenic qualities of a hindered mirror rise. To understand the mirror, one must destroy it, scratch by scratch, with the hope that through the process of destruction the shadows of the shadows are brought into the light. We must wonder if we do not already exist in a reflection of sorts; what guarantees that we are on the right side of a mirror at any given moment? A mirror should never be trusted for it is only a copy of the lies that are already present being. What is history then? It could be said history is a mirror waiting to be scratched and broken at a moments notice and reassembled, only to be broken again.
Who knows what shadows may come to light and which lights may be pushed to the shadows. The connection of a mirror and history while contentious and volatile allows us to understand the role of history as an action, an object and a construction simultaneously. Every level of this relationship is filled with its own variables, vices and contradictions that are not moments of disparity, but moments of possible creative exuberance and exploit. As we read, live and construct history, we are not meant to discover and store, but to discover, tear, collage, burn, char, mix, and rediscover again. If not we allow the shadows to settle, for the light to hide and for the reflections to become image, and the concealed to be forgotten. While we may find that as we look into the mirrors of our existence that we are surrounded by constraints upon constraints leading us to conclusions and discoveries, we must understand that those discoveries are no less powerful than any others. History is a collection of rules founded on questions and questions discovered through the questioning of rules. History itself is a collection of arbitrariness and chance but indeed it is the only one we have. All we can do is attempt to break it, scratch it, shatter it and thus discover a new level of arbitrary justification.