For those who remain
The wonder of the Old World is not just a wonder of beauty. It would be condescending to look at the Pyramids of Egypt and wonder that it could have been made by those people. That will be assuming that our generation is a more intelligent one. I would rather say our generation is older. And age does not always translate to wisdom. That might be why historians tells us that the only lesson we learn from the past is that we learn nothing from the past. If that is true then the study history is a worthwhile development. Anything that can teach a man a lesson, any lesson, even if the lesson is that he cannot learn, is a dire needed blessing.
History is representative of the ancient. Although everything old isn't a treasure, the mundane will become a celebrity if it acquires enough sense to outlive its more accomplished fellows. Antique dealers and other collectors will do well to bear me witness.
""Since hunters have learnt to shoot without missing, I have learnt to fly without perching", said Eneke the bird when he was called to court." Igbo proverb.
The lesson this bird shared with his questioners was the lesson of adaptability. This is also the lesson from antiques. They weather storms and endure generational changes. It's only those who survive that will be celebrated. Eneke the bird found that out and decided to learn something new, adapt and survive.
This is the first lesson I would learn of history. It is the fact that some survive while many others do not. Those who survive are those who have learnt to adapt to the changes in the Ages. That is why Mona Lisa survived the industrial revolution, the Holocaust etc. Since Photoshop has learnt to create without clay and water, she has learnt to smile without ceasing. Although none of history can be written off, some remain with us while others leave us perpetually wondering about their identity and whereabouts. We appreciate those who remain.
I would rather be part of those who survive like Eneke the bird, those who choose to adapt for survival. Surviving asks different things of us. At times it asks that we be radically different. Sometimes it asks that we simply go the extra mile. Some other time it simply asks that we be like the coin that falls into the drain and there endures the kindness of humanity for 200 years when it'll be dug up in the building of a new subway. Those who survive, they are the heroes we know. If in the midst of a deadly battle a soldier hides only to emerge after both sides have all killed themselves off, he has by hiding won the battle for his kingdom. He is the survivor and hero.
History may not have been kindest to those who have sacrificed the most. That is a question for another day. But we ought to decide to remain and survive. Those who catch the world's imagination and never let go have that rare opportunity of whispering into the minds of generations. Their impact is more lasting.
The problem of every nation is the mindset of the majority of its people. Democracy isn't only a form of government. The minds of the people rule even where their votes are denied a voice. Those mindsets are imbued by the loudest voices from their history. We all can speak into our futures. We ought to.
The matter more pressing is the voice with which we speak. Every good dream ought not to be denied a place tomorrow. Those who do not dream well should keep sleeping till they learn the art. The shaping of the future started long ago. Some of it continues today. Those who will champion the future are those who survive, who remain relevant in those ages, those who adapt without aging. You choose how to.