If the “word” temporal is unfamiliar to you, that’s ok. It means “related to time.” Time is a figment of the human consciousness, as we are told by physicists. Future, present, past…..who knows what these perceptions really are. But I am not about to get into a discussion of time, space and gravity, although I am most definitely intrigued by speculations of these scientists. What I am thinking about “now” relates to how we individually in each generation, “deposited” if you will here in this Earth realm, human being appearing out of nowhere…..called “birth”…..perceive history.
Take me for example…..first baby boomer, born April, 1946. At the time of my birth there were still both slaves and Civil War soldiers living, and actually lived a few years after 1946! That awful war ended in April, 1865, only 81 years before I was born. I am now 73 (rounding a little). My point is that even though to me the Civil War seems like ancient history, it was just a lifetime or less before my own birth.
Now let’s fast forward some. Let’s take someone today who is like 25 years old. I have god children about that age “fyi,” and even though I am nearly 50 years older, we converse as if there is no difference in age at times, yet I dare say none of my kids have any real perception of what the world, or even Dallas, Texas where we are, was like in the year 1946 (and they don’t really seem to care “lol”). To them, the Civil War is just a name in history, and I suspect if I asked they couldn’t tell me what years the Civil War was fought, or WWII, or Korean, or even Viet Nam. They came into this world just a few years before the attack on the World Trade Center, 9-11 we call it.
So to me it is mysterious how we perceive time in general. Of course “sense of time” is also a cultural phenomenon, by in large. Time in Africa is different from time in NYC. Some cultures even have no words for past or future. Some believe we live in dream time, which from a physics perspective is the most correct.
However, this is why I do believe that teaching history is so important, and that each generation owes it to the next to pass on its collective history. We all know this is not really being done in our so-called modern cultures. If we were, we would all remember the herds of buffalo that covered extended far past the horizon. We would remember the sky darkened by carrier pigeons. We would be able to name the names of many species that were here when we were born, and now are no longer here. We would better understand, climate change, and our role in causing it. We would have a much greater impetus collectively, to arrest the acceleration of climate change, so we could tell our grandchildren, “all is ok.”
Shake my head.