Humanity really understands the new only when it inherits much of the old (Bergson).

About me: smart. Or smart ass?

Will the Circle Be Unbroken
memento dierum antiquorum cogita generationes singulas interroga patrem tuum et adnuntiabit tibi maiores tuos et dicent tibi

Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

may the circle be unbroken

"Humanity really understands the new only when it inherits much of the old."
Henri Bergson

May the Circle Be Unbroken

Woodrow Wilson said:
A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about. Ours is a rich legacy. Rich but [in danger of being] lost.

Quod est ætas hominis,
nisi ea memoria rerum
veterum cum superiorum ætate contexitur

Of what value is man's life if it is not connected with the life of his predecessors by the records of antiquity?

Tacitus :
et majores vestros et posteros cogitate

Think on those who went before
Think on those who will come after.

American historian Daniel Boorstin warned:
In our schools today, the story of our nation has been relaced by social studies -- which is the study of what ails us now. In our churches, the effort to see the essential nature of man has been displaced by the social gospel -- which is the polemic against the pet vices of today. Our book publishers no longer seek the timeless and the durable, but spend most of their efforts in a fruitless search for -- la mode social commentary -- which they pray will not be out of date when the item goes to press. Our merchandisers frantically devise their new year models, which will cease to be voguish when their sequels appear three months hence. Neither our classroom lessons nor our sermons nor our books nor the things we live with nor the houses we live in are any longer with strong ties to our past. We have become a nation of short-term doomsayers. In a word, we have lost our sense of history. Without the materials of historical comparison, we are left with nothing but abstractions.

(Newsweek, July 6, 1970)

Henri Bergson
Humanity really understands the new only when it inherits much of the old.
Erik H. Erikson:
If there is any responsibility in the cycle of life it must be that one generation owes to the next that strength by which it can come to face ultimate concerns in its own way.
Benjamin N. Cardoza:
History in illuminating the past illuminates the present, and in illuminating the present illuminates the future.
Golda Meir:
One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.
Victor Hugo:
Let us, while waiting for new monuments, preserve ancient monuments.
A link in a chain, time out of memory:
The best way to develop an attitude of responsibility toward the future is to cultivate a sense or responsibility toward the past. We are born into a world that we didn't make, and it is only fair that we should be grateful to those who did make it. Such gratitude carries with it the imperative that we preserve and at least slightly improve the world that has been given us before passing it on to subsequent generations. We stand in the midst of many generations. If we are indifferent to those who went before us, how can we expect to be concerned for the well-being of those who come after us and only potentially exist.
[David Carlin, quoted in George Grant: May the Circle be Unbroken: The Lessons of History]

Modern Education
It is said that since the invention of the steam engine we live in a new era, an era so different from all preceding ages that the cultural tradition is no longer relevant, is in fact misleading. I submit to you that this is a rationalization, that this is a pretended reason for the educational void which we now call education. The real reason, I venture to suggest, is that we reject the religious and classical heritage, first, because to master it requires more effort than we are willing to compel ourselves to make, and, second, because it creates issues that are too deep and too contentious to be faced with equanimity. We have abolished the old curriculum because we are afraid of it, afraid to face any longer in a modern democratic society the severe discipline and the deep, disconcerting issues of the nature of the universe, and of man's place in it and of his destiny.

Walter Lippmann, "Education vs. Western Civilization" Spring 1941

The Continuous Human Community

We who now live are parts of a humanity that extends into the remote past, a humanity that interacts with nature. The things in civilization we prize most are not of ourselves. They exist by the grace of the doings and sufferings of the continuous human community in which we are a link. Ours is the responsibility of conserving, transmitting, and expanding the heritage of values we have received [so] that those who come after us may receive it more solid and secure, more widely accessible and more generously shared than we have received it.

John Dewey, A Common Faith


Toward the end of the Torath Mosheh, The "Law" revered by Jews of old, is found the "Song of Moses." Within the verses the poet invokes sacred memory as a teacher and guide for the people. "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thine elders, and they will tell thee."

(Deuteronomy 32: 7)

Mystic Chords of Memory:
Even before Fort Sumter, Lincoln (taking his oath of office) offered profound hope for America's future:

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and every patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

When interracial love makes the highest sacrifice - George Wythe, "victim" of love

My Namesake: Professor Bob Shepherd - University of Richmond

I wanted to do something REAL with my life - says Bob Shepherd

"Memory" - Barbra Streisand - Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS

Look back on time with kindly eyes, He doubtless did his best

Appeal to my wife

You deserve your happiness. If I ever resisted that, I accept the blame.

Like you always tell me, "I would feel better about myself" (I know you would respect me more, and be able to look up to me) "if I did something for myself." Have you given up on nudging me? You know my issues. My geekiness, my computer skills. You saw me growing up, saw Pops take that wicked strap to me for goofing off, for disrespecting women, for reading instead of working. Yet you went ahead and married me.

I forever will owe you for having mercy on me. But you never undercut the principle of "work first." You encouraged me to fully accept the lessons of my "mean" brutal disciplinarian (Father). After all, it was the one kind of pep talk that really worked - FOR ME. I listened better with my butt than I did with my ear lobes.

Now I am the one who needs the work out (or incentive of a working "over"). I am the one who needs to lose about thirty lbs. My fat gut my fat butt.

I need a kick in the ass. I need my righteous wife to rouse herself up and whip me into shape. I am such a stubborn jerk. I see how you shine, and I feel like slouching all the more. Back when you still cared you used to say, "Stand up straight. Stop slouching." You wanted me to be my best. And look my best. The way you always do. Now I keep thinking. Just give me another chance. I won't resist when you "teach" me (or when you TEASE me about Pops and his methods.)

give us men

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love.
Thornton Wilder

last save 05/31/11