To Keep or Not to Keep; that is a question

Many important things lie in hidden places. Stories of lives are evidenced by documents, photographs and possessions that are kept in dusty drawers, unvisited stores and forgotten places. They sometimes come to light when there is a public interest in a topic upon which such things can shed some light, or when a historian tries to write a longer better more profound history of an event, for events are centered on people and all histories are stories of people.

In modern life we are caught between two conflicting desires; we want to preserve the past in order to preserve our memories and pass our memories on to those who may care for them as we have cared for them. We also want to live simple lives uncomplicated by the burden of the past, because our lives are sufficiently complicated by the manners and practices of the present, and we do not have time to care for the future by preserving the past.

We pause before we destroy something, even of recent date. When faced with a number of things I pause to decide which I should consign to the dustbin and the pause usually means that I neglect to deal with any of those things; I put away the pile for another day, when perhaps I shall be more ready to make those final commitments.

Each new day brings the detritus of the preceding day and the decisions of which to keep and which to reject. We do not always know which memories are important, and sometimes we never know nor do we understand.

One Response

  1. It is indeed a dilemma. E-mails are a case in point. Many of my correspondents are in the habit of pressing the delete button. In contrast, I keep all e-mails (apart from obvious spam/junk) and have a vast e-mail archive dating right back to the early e-mail days in the 1990s. I regard it as an invaluable resource.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: