Monday, October 17, 2016

Spanning the Generations - 250 years is within human understanding

100 years is considered a long time but it is really only at the extreme of a single human life.   100 years ago is history but a history that we can still have some personal first hand connection with and in fact has a human we can have connection to up to 250 years of history personally.   As humans we have to be thinking in the terns of hundreds of years and not a couple decades

I am 51 years old now and I have personal memories of world events from the early 1970s which is a span of around 44 years.   My experience of history increases through knowing my parents and my grandparents generation.

My father was born in 1922 and his memories went back to the late 1920s.   My personal connection to history through first hand stories from my father goes back 85 years, not far off 100 years.  If do the same with my mother's father this takes the stories I have been exposed to to 105 years ago because he was born in 1902, more than a century ago.   As a child my grandmother told me stories of the First World War and the Estonian War of Independence.

Admittedly these timeframes have been getting longer as I get older.   For my kids the range is shorter but they connect with the history I can tell them and the same will be true of my grandkids.

The point of all this is that a couple of centuries is not a long time for humans but we act as if 50 years is a long time.   We fail to see the long term as being relevant because it seems so far.   I also use my family as the way to view this because family has historically been the way we connect the generations.

Vancouver is very young it was founded in the same year my grandfather was born.   Canada was founded in 1867 when my great grandfather was 13.   Fort Victoria was founded a scant six years before my great grandfather was born.   What was have done in such a short span of human history should shock us.

My sister met her maternal line great grandmother Gabrielle, born in 1870, when she was young.  That is 146 years.   We must think in much, much longer terms.

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