After a day of work and a weekend to look forward to, with fondness towards the weekly time off which I try to assign to participating in or pursuing a hobby; the chatter turned towards lamenting over the past and its golden glory. After some pity-party I sarcastically replied to his longing with a- “there goes the highly revisionist past riding over the beauty of the holistic today”. While I didn’t think much then and we both laughed it off, as a true example of my snappy behavior and dislike for anything that can dampen my vibe. But it was only later that I realized that I couldn’t get over the wisdom of my own words; because it sure does pour out at the most unexpected times!
The term ‘Revisionism’ gained popularity back when a group of people propagated that the transition to socialist society need not necessarily be achieved through revolution; a.k.a. opposing Marx. In fairly simpler terms, revisionism stands for the watering down of ideas in order to make them more conducive of your ideas of today. It is a common behavioral mechanism used by us all- rationalization.
To think of it, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the yester-years being put on a pedestal in comparison for today, for its quality and warmth, I sure could be an investor in the Trump Towers. How many times have we all heard of yesterday’s value while the current is nagged over like the black sheep of the family. All those sentences that begin with: “In our times…”. And the number of times each one of us has compared the comfort of our own past life to the pressures of the present and found some relief in the nostalgia?
This is no rant and there is no denying the fact that with time, not only have we evolved in comparison to our forefathers, but aren’t we also evolving from our current selves? Which had me thinking- evolving is actually a sign that we are capable of change. Maybe we aren’t as stuck up, really!
Think about it, there were some terrible compositions even back then, some sad fads in the food industry (margarine, really?), blunders by leaders (declaring National emergencies), disasters by designers- which all felt quite gruesome. But in our general opinions of the past we hold them dear, because we are now aware of the results to those situations and aren’t uncertain about what they will lead to; unlike today. That’s exactly why some of the cheesiest scores of the past are thought of as landmarks today and ways of expression (woman under the waterfall, drenched in a saree, flowers rubbing off on each other, etc.) or just a funny little memory which makes us laugh and not cringe anymore. I still remember when in middle school I tripped over my own foot in an empty hallway and fell on my back with legs flagged up in the air- then it was a catastrophic moment, which meant the end of my school and social life, but today its one of those jokes that only my closest set know and is proof to me being a cluts.
So maybe, its time for a little alteration to our set pattern of thinking. Instead of wondering about the return on investment of our time, thought and ideas, we could be a little more flexible and give them a chance for revision before we run the short-distance judgment. Wasn’t it time that helped us move from coconut shells to bikinis? We could all revise the black and white norms and become more grey about the skin tones, tan lines, the right mix of time and activity, the correlation between clothes and gender, the need to categorize the world based on highlighting characteristic traits instead of the entire jig-saw that we all are, the inherent urge to succeed and be quantifies based on the bills and wheels.
‘what is history if not a bouquet of revisions,
and today a bunch of roses with thorns yet to pluck’