Friday, May 31, 2013

The Obligation of Memory

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking interview the Chinese author, Yang Jisheng, talks about "the obligation of memory":
If a people cannot face their history, these people won't have a future. That was one of the purposes for me to write this book. I wrote a lot of hard facts, tragedies. I wanted people to learn a lesson, so we can be far away from the darkness, far away from tragedies, and won't repeat them.
Mr. Yang sounds much like another historian, Moroni:
 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been. (Mormon 9:31)
Being wise, however, entails actually learning about the past and the triumphs and mistakes of the past.