A truly total history would cancel itself out—its product would be nought. —Claude Levi-Strauss—
The world has been as rich and as varied as it is at this very moment. Wealth and poverty, joy and pain, peace and struggle, have existed side by side. The history of human life has been the history of each person’s journey from birth to death.
When we study history, we are always studying someone’s interpretation or argument. The total history could never argue a point or prove an interpretation. We each can tell many true stories about ourselves by selecting facts from our personal histories. Yet our total history will cancel these stories and show us how to be neither saints nor villains, merely seekers.
There’s much we can learn from others’ stories. They can illuminate our path; they can persuade us of the wisdom of one choice or another. Yet to be fully human is to escape the neat outlines of such a story. We immerse ourselves in life; we are surrounded by it.
I will try to respect everyone’s reality, and to remember that much of the world lies outside my range of vision.