Stephanie has a sublime and thought provoking meditation on the value of forgetting. Her whole piece is subtle and poignant, so read it in full:

We don’t always learn the right lessons from history. We make myths and stories before our understanding matches our need to make sense of surreality. We don’t understand the scope and causes of events until we have had time to look around us, take everything in, and argue out the details. Holding fast to our initial impressions and explanations can make us wrong in terribly important ways. Sometimes the most important thing we can do, the thing that moves us forward as a family, as a nation, as a species, is giving up our flawed memories.


Life changes, or it isn’t life. As much as any of us may want our own legacy remembered, we will all, someday, make way to another generation. We will be forgotten, even if it happens long after our deaths. And that is okay. That is, in fact, exactly what we should want to have happen. We may build knowledge, but if another generation fails to build on it and be recognized in their own right, we’ve contributed less to humanity than if our names were chiseled in stone for eternity. We may create art, but if no one reinterprets it to those who don’t live as we do, the art dies with us, even if it is set in stars in Earth’s night sky. Our legacy is change, or it is nothing. That requires forgetting as well as remembering.

Not to mention that never forgetting our grievances, in particular, means always feeling aggrieved even when we are the aggravators.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.