A “made up” past

“…we know almost nothing about our pasts. What we remember is often false. For instance, when I try to think about when I was seven years old I can just recall two or three episodes, two or three images. And I only remember them because they are always the same: I remember remembering them. A lot of people would like to have another past; some are able to make it up and believe in their own versions. The writer Bruce Chatwin, for example, according to the biography by Nicholas Shakespeare, invented such a story for himself. It appears he believed in this past, which led us as his readers to believe in it, too.

PP/AT: Do you think a made-up past can come to define somebody’s future, too? And does this idea apply to nations as well?

JA: Yes, no doubt about it: by making up a past you’re able to alter your future. That’s why the idea is so attractive. The final objective is to modify everything. Science fiction writers know that by playing with the past you are also playing with the future. There are a lot of books that explain how some so-called “traditions” were made up in a matter of days. In newer countries like Angola the temptation to create national heroes and traditions is very strong and answers a collective need. It’s been done before and it’s being done again now.”

Words Without Borders: An Interview with José Eduardo Agualusa

I have seen this happening in my own life . I try to make up a past which will make me free of guilt. Because guilt is what you feel all the while when you think of the past events .Rather than wallowing in self-misery born of a painful realization of one’s own failures I would prefer to make up my past ,which gives me a better interpretation of my visions for future Not that I try to make a romanticized past with imagined glory.It is just the thought that some of the blandest events that had happened could not have been better and that some of the painful events were not in fact all that pain-causing and could have happened any way without their origin in my own failure.

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