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Consciousness Thought

In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies by David Rieff

By David Rieff

The traditional knowledge approximately ancient reminiscence is summed up in George Santayana’s celebrated word, “Those who can't have in mind the prior are condemned to copy it.” this present day, the consensus that it truly is ethical to recollect, immoral to fail to remember, is almost absolute. And but is that this right?

David Rieff, an self sufficient author who has stated on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and vital Asia, insists that issues aren't so easy. He poses tough questions on no matter if remembrance ever actually has, or certainly ever may possibly, “inoculate” the current opposed to repeating the crimes of the earlier. He argues that rubbing uncooked old wounds—whether self-inflicted or imposed by means of outdoor forces—neither treatments injustice nor confers reconciliation. If he's correct, then ancient reminiscence isn't really an ethical relevant yet particularly an ethical option—sometimes referred to as for, occasionally now not. Collective remembrance may be poisonous. occasionally, Rieff concludes, it can be extra ethical to forget.
Ranging generally throughout the various defining conflicts of contemporary times—the Irish problems and the Easter rebellion of 1916, the white payment of Australia, the yank Civil conflict, the Balkan wars, the Holocaust, and 9/11—Rieff provides a pellucid exam of the makes use of and abuses of historic reminiscence. His contentious, really good, and stylish essay is an crucial paintings of ethical philosophy.

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