Much of history is written and taught as though
you and your loved ones have been witnesses to events which have formed society,
rather than participants in them,
unless you are aristocratic, wealthy or from a high ranking diplomatic or military family.
But History is the exciting human story of us all
in which all of our social, political, creative,
technical, scientific and personal roots are found.
History is you; it belongs to you.
Who are you?
Who are your parents and friends?
How did they and you wind up being born where you were,
living where you are,
eating what you eat and thinking what you think?
That personal story revealed by history,
the story of how we came to be who we are,
is not an abstraction because you are not an abstraction.
Each of us is a consequence of history. Each of us is living history.
History is almost seamless.
It flows from minute to minute and century to century,
usually changing slowly,
often painfully slowly for the people of a particular time.
But sometimes there are great eruptions of human activity
in wars, revolutions, plagues and droughts,
or through technological or philosophical ideas.
At those moments, many things change at once.
Human history is filled with dramatic stories that highlight cruelty and kindness,
collective madness and occasional outbreaks of sanity;
it is filled with avarice, fear, jealousy,
as well with decency, heroism and love.
All of these are a part of our pre-generator’s struggle for freedom and democracy.
If you say, ‘I don’t believe in politics and I don’t vote’,
you turn your back on all those who have fought and often suffered
to win the compromised democracy we now have.
If you embrace the sweeping stories of history,
you embrace much of life and many ideas that help you to understand
where you and we are today.
Robert Golden from the Timeline as part of Democracy in Bridport 2015.
Robert will be holding a workshop during TCFT 2015 on the role of art in democracy.