“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
– William Faulkner
In His “Requiem for a Nun”
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In recent times, this Faulkner quote has been commented upon so very often, and by so many people. I believe the reason for its popularity is that, due to its simple yet universal truth, it is “pregnant” with so many meanings to so many people. Many people believe that the legacy of slavery of years ago lives on in our lives today. Many people believe that the legacies of unfairness, inequality, being ignored, even brutalized, that forebears experienced likewise continue to “live” – or perhaps lurk is a better word – inside us today.
My maternal grandfather was dragged by an angry mob from my grandparents’ home in the middle of the night; his body was never found. Though a young woman, my grandmother was told by clergy that she could never again marry, because her husband just might be alive. I always wondered why my grandma, unlike everyone else’s grandma, lived with a boyfriend, not a husband. No doubt that past – and why it happened – lives in my soul today, and, to some extent, in my son’s soul, as well. When trying to understand others who don’t seem rational, reasonable or sane in their saying or doing seemingly “crazy” things, bear in mind that each of us – and all of us – has a “past” that is not dead, but is alive somewhere inside us to this day. Maybe, just maybe, that will make it a touch easier to understand what they say and do, and why they say it and do it, today. At work and elsewhere, bear in mind that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
This quote, like many others, was sent to us by a reader requesting anonymity. We thank the sender for their thoughtful and insightful quote.
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