If Ye Break Faith

This blog is dedicated to the promotion of educating about the Canadian experience of World War One. To discover who we are as a nation in the 21st Century, we must understand our past.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Time Keeps on Slipping

Keeping up with this site and the project it supports can be done by following our Facebook Page, and Twitter Feed.  Any suggestions, questions or comments, please forward them to me here: ifyebreakfaith@gmail.com.

Perhaps I'm just not good at self promotion.  I do believe in what we are doing, and the best opportunity to fulfil those objectives are through a campaign like AMPLIFY, but I'm much more of a writer and lover of history than a marketer, and I just can't do this alone.  So, a big thanks to the efforts made already, and a pre-emptive thanks for the continued drive to success.  Let's all work together to make this happen.

A friend of mine is relaunching his business, an executive coaching venture, and has invited me to take a look at some of his supporting documents.  For me, this is an opportunity to do some copy writing work, an exciting prospect.  To that purpose, I've been thinking a lot about the symbolic nature of his own logo, a brush painted circle.  It makes sense for his work as it speaks towards the personal journey one embarks upon to find the qualities in oneself which have been neglected to the detriment of success.  The circle, or ring, has a deep an abiding significance throughout our history, and it is along those lines that I was developing some introductory copy for my friend's site.  Of course, I tried relating some of the observations I intended to make to my project.  It works, but after a fashion.

Time, or at least our understanding and imposed method of measuring this dimension is linear.  We are forever in the present, the past is what has happened and the future yet to be.  Exploring the theoretical edge of time in a metaphysical way, what with the expansion and eventual retraction of the universe it could possibly be circular, we just don't know it.  There is nothing we can do to alter what has happened and only a best guess can be made as to what will happen.  This is both what makes the study of history relevant and frustrating at times.  Once an event has moved into the past, we can only use what evidence we have on hand to evaluate the event and the effect it has on the present or will have on the future.  The real trick, in order to delve deep into the past to extract it's lessons is objectivity.  To say that the objective study of history is difficult is mastering understatement.  Since our own identity, as individuals, is tied into familial, cultural and social factors, we are more inclined to be subjective.  Thinking about our story, and the past that it has come out of is an emotionally driven prospect which can lead us to observe the past more perhaps as we would wish to see it rather than it actually was.  Any evidence that challenges perception of our past is often treated with contempt at first, because it threatens to take away from an identity we've made for ourselves.

British Recruits, August 1914
Where the First World War is concerned, it is still widely viewed as a conflict that shouldn't have happened, a waste of lives and money in a futile event which didn't seem to change anything.  Even writing that sentence, it mystifies me that there are those who think this way about World War One.  More than likely, they'll be people willing to talk about how much WWII changed the face of history.  I no longer point out the irony in their thinking.  My own thought is that the events surrounding the onset of the Twentieth Century, of which the most prevalent is the war come from a long and interlinked history, and has shaped the course of political and social movement in ways that are still apparent today.

It is our goal here, using the First World War as our touchstone, to best extract what lessons can be imparted from our collective story, and how best to apply those lessons to encourage a peaceful future for us all.  Time may well be linear, but the cause and effect of past events which continue to impact us should be the encouragement we need to plumb the depths of our stories to evaluate a potential course of following events.

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