2016 Retrospective – Why death is not the end

1 Jan

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.” Robert Jordan is long gone from this world, but with The Wheel of Time he has left the world one of the best book series that the realm of Fantasy could ever imagine. And as the Gregorian calendar turns another full year we ask again whether anything we did will pass to legend, or if all we did was to feed the squabbling turmoil of the moment.

 

Shades of Black

To many the year 2016 will be something that they would rather forget. For instance, we saw the rise of right-winged populist politics, “the end of democracy” as left-winged populists called it. The British UKIP party celebrates itself for dragging Great Britain into political isolation. A notorical liar, despised by his own party, led the conservative Republicans to victory in the USA. And Putin’s military forces helped Assat’s band of alleged war criminals to reclaim the iron throne of Syria. Now, all of that sounds horrible to the thinking one who feels. But will we remember any of it long-term? I doubt it.

Horror is not something that people try to hold on to. It is something they try to forget. Twelve days ago a Moroccan asshole stole a truck from a Pole (Oh, the irony!), and drove it into a Christmas Market in Berlin. That guy killed about a dozen people, and is widely acclaimed to be a formidable terrorist. But who will remember him for it? Who but religious extremists will see his actions as memorable?

Christmas markets continue to exist. People continue to enjoy themselves outdoors. Except for those directly involved in the attack nothing has changed. Populist spokespersons often proclaim that “once the terror is at our door, it will be too late”. However, now that the terror has smashed our neighbour’s face in we still consider it a long distance away. We refuse to be afraid of it. Hear that ISIS; you cannot prevent the Western World from being jolly!

Not even two weeks have passed since that Islamist killed a dozen shoppers, yet most Germans don’t recall the name of the attacker, or even the specific Christmas Market that he blundered into. The terror is here, and we know it is real; still we try to forget, not to remember.

 

Fire in Calgary

Photo reporters flock around catastrophes, because they generate interest. But long-term those negative images don’t hold.

Evil never prevails

That is why terror organisations such as ISIS, UKIP, or AfD (our modern German Nazi party) are bound to fail. They pull off a few media stunts, blast a hole into our political fabric, and keep themselves in recent memory. But as the years go by they degrade to another speck on the colourful tapestry of world politics. People do not remember the destroyers. They commemorate creators.

The Maya, Inca, and ancient Egyptians all believed in something bigger, and modern man remembers them, because of the things that they created to glorify their makers. Few people recall the Mormon’s “Mountain Meadows Massacre”, despite its vileness. Yet, most North Americans know about the Mormons, because they are impressed by their huge and glorious temples that seem to pop up in everybody’s neighbourhood.

 

Goemon5 CD release poster

2016 saw the release of my first album. THAT is something I will remember.

Creators that last

That is why our children won’t remember ISIS, or UKIP, or Donald Trump. Because they have not (yet) created anything of value. They have not moved the world forward and therefore won’t stand the test against time. As soon as any of them dies their remnants will quickly be ground down and carried away by the great wind that rose in the Mountains of Mist; doomed to be forgotten as Ages come and pass.

So, which memories of our recent history do we keep alive? We will remember Malala Yousafzai for her courage; for wanting an education so badly that she faced gunshots to obtain it. We hold George Michael in memory for his work towards public acceptance of homosexuality, and for that horribly overplayed Wham! song.

may-meltdown

Rollerderby rules. Enough said.

So, what of 2016?

2016 is a year of personal victories. I will remember it as the year that I released my first album, and the year I created my first professional music videos, in collaboration with multi-talented Natasha Sayer. It is the year I found Rollerderby, and watched the Calgary Allstars win Silver at the Championships. Granted, it’s a year of personal memories. But this is the kind of selfish positivity that hurts no one, and is far more encouraging than mourning over all the great musicians who are no longer with us.

Thus, I encourage you to do the same. If you can’t find any global and ground-shaking occurrences that keep the year 2016 in your positive memory, rather pick some personal ones. Come on, there has to be something about this year that you liked! Keep that one in mind. Stay positive. There is always tomorrow.

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