On My Reverence for History

I considered starting off this piece by calling history one of my truest loves, but I decided against it. While I revel in trying to approach the unattainably distant, but intractably alluring, possession of a refined and rigorous understanding of history, I admit that she is almost too large to love and certainly too ineluctable to disregard. More than posturing as the object of my evergreen love, history exerts herself over everything—she reigns over the past, defining it as the cornerstone of our present and the determinant of our future. Still, I acknowledge the apparent futility in humanity’s often directionless apostrophe to history, as if the passing of time, dovetailed with the dynamism and constancy of everything in existence, could be encapsulated in a field or a word. Among other associations I have formed, history is wholly redolent of the expansiveness and ineffability of motherhood for me: ‘it’ is underwhelming; ‘he’ and failure are inseparable; and ‘she’ is the only concept we know that can approximate her. History is God, and she, and everything. Many of us are taught that reverence before god will save us, but only she can. In my remorseless atheism, in the irreconcilability of trying to live a life of emotive conviction and passionless rationalism, and in the diachrony we have imposed on her, we do not and must learn from her. To avail myself of euphemism and keep myself from polemicizing, I would like to note what we all know: she has already accounted for our ritual lamentation as we fail to learn from her—from endless beginning to endless end.

-Luis Armando Martínez

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