Conversation with Kleio – part #1

Interlocutor: My dear Kleio, who and what art thou? History-muse, daughter of thunder and memory. Your scrolls, dusty and worn mostly by time, contain the electrifying charge of history’s momentum. Your recounting carries with it the fires of violence, war, and politics. The echo of the thunderclaps that rendered the air, remembered through dense and foggy accounts of our times, and of other times. You have a long history, you have all of our successes, failures, aspirations, fears and courage noted down, and occasionally you seduce and inspire some of us mortals to undertake a solemn pilgrimage into the depths of forgotten and remembered memories. Many question your use in society, in human existence. Many doubt that the lessons to be learned from history are never learned – doomed to repetition – or that by the time our time turns into history, the lesson is learned too late. Time, Chronos, is both our blessing and our curse, and while we are as historians, fans of Kleio, of our time, our history is always a time too far.

Kleio: Thank you mortal, for your kind concern. It tickles me neatly to look at you and your kin [humans] struggle with the very memory of yourselves through the ages, it also saddens me. You see, you are blessed and cursed at the same time with the gift of memory, and the turning of the wheel of time. You only half remember things, and those poorly, and while you forget who you are with time, your know that it is happening to you. You live in an inescapable present, shedding the many masks of your past self, and predecessors, but keep encountering the same series of masks as you move forward.

Interlocutor: Interesting, quite. I then wonder, why do you then inspire and seduce us mortals into the quest of tracing the fossil, fragments of our ages? Why is finding, discovering, understanding and learning about the past incarnations, the capsules of generations for which entire lives worth of thought, understanding, love, as well as hate, violence and misery so important? If then we are cursed at our constant circle of generational capsules, why strive for your favor and historical beauty Kleio?

Kleio: Simple! It is because you are driven to find a way to break free. As one epoch reaches as an age, it recognizes itself in every other epoch in the past when it was at that age.

Interlocutor: In history, we always see ourselves yes, but here you also mean that we actually see our ancestors, previous mortals and their age because we are in that age too?

Kleio: Yes.

Interlocutor: Are we able to see beyond our own epoch, our own age? Can we see ahead by looking at the future of a past society? Is the account of history given us a roadmap to our fate?

Kleio: Yes.

Interlocutor: Why then are we prisoners of our fated doom?

Kleio: The circle of history is long, large and almost imperceptible. You know now the pattern of things, you know the inevitable consequences of actions today, because of their result in the past. You mortals are even subtly suspect the stages of your ages your culture and society is in. However, your problem is that you have no idea where on the circle you are, and at what stage of the epochal age you are in. Your historical coordinates, unlike your maps, have no point of reference in time. What shades of trees did you enjoy in your life? What trees do you leave for the next children?


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