Disturbing the seeds to make them grow

PoppyReflecting on yesterday, I think the crux of the matter is that I don’t know whether you honour the sacrifice by remembering or by forgetting. I think Peter’s point was that there was no purpose in any of it- the only comfort being that the next traveller along the path would be spared what he himself had to endure. Even Max Hastings comments that he is grateful that he has been relieved of  the need to discover whether he could have matched their impossible sacrifices.

Is it important to interpret the past, or is it just pawing around in the glories of someone else?

I’m still very unsure about this. Or…

Another way to look at it, is to consider papaver rhoeas– the common field poppy.

The field poppy is an annual plant which flowers each year between about May and August. Its seeds are disseminated on the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed from the early spring the seeds will germinate and the poppy flowers will grow.


5 responses to “Disturbing the seeds to make them grow

  • Amy Scott

    I think forgetting plays an important role in developing the techniques we use to approach the past. The threat of oblivion is important, though, as the impetus for remembering. I think of Hamlet vowing to remember his father. He says to the Ghost, “Remember thee? / yea, from the table of my memory / I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records, / All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past […] And thy commandment all alone shall live / Within the book and volume of my brain” (1.5.97-103). There is always a balance between remembering and forgetting. Although, Hamlet’s decision to forget some things and not others suggests a calculated process rather than something that occurs naturally. But we always make decisions to retain some memories and discard others. Hamlet is just emphasizing a natural process. In any case, the two do go together.

    Ricoeur writes about memory and forgetting. He acknowledges that there is a “celebrated duty of memory” in the “form of the exhortation not to forget”. Yet then he also notes that “we shun the specter of a memory that would never forget anything. We even consider it to be monstrous”. He wonders: “Could forgetting then no longer be in every respect an enemy of memory, and could memory have to negotiate with forgetting, groping to find the right measure in its balance with forgetting” (Memory, History, Forgetting. Page 413).

    I think we are just now finding our balance here. Finding the “right measure” of remembering and forgetting. This is not the sign that we should do one or the other fully and finally. This is simply a sign that we are ethically attuned to our work. And that is always a good thing!

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