The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hanging on to History

I love history.  I have been taking history courses at UMass Lowell Continuing Education for several years and now my wife and I do it together.

But, there is a thing about history.  It can be a trap of bitterness.  I thought about this when I read the following two paragraphs by someone I know through the Internet:
Some years ago in Japan, I did a story on the revival of the Japanese camera industry, the first industry to produce a luxury good after the devastation of WWII.  In the course of the reporting, I asked a camera company executive why Japanese were so fond of cameras.  He explained:  "We Japanese are a retrospective people.  We look back into the past of our families, for instance, and we want a record of births and entering school and graduation and entering a company and marriage and on and on."  Then he looked at me and said:  "That's what makes us different from you Americans.  You Americans, you never look back.  Tomorrow is more important to you than yesterday."

The more I have thought about that, the more I think that Japanese taught me something profoundly true about my own country. We Americans never look back.  That is at once a strength and a weakness.  One of the strengths is that we don't hold grudges.  The weakness is that often we don't learn the lessons that history could teach us.
This are both good points.

As someone else in our EMail group noted, we fought the British twice and they are our strongest ally.  We fought the French once (informal war) and then went on to fight with them for their freedom twice in the last century.  We fought the Germans twice, but today see them as good friends, as we do the Japanese, who 65 years ago we detested.

Back when travel averaged only a few miles an hour, it was not so much of a problem that people would say, "Let me tell you about what they did to us back in 1310."  Today, when travel is so much easier and quicker (you can drive from Paris to Munich in about a day), that kind of thinking is dangerous.  For example, peace between Israel and Palestine will depend upon both sides being able to look forward, rather than looking back.

In Lowell we have many different groups that have come here and looked forward, helping to build and rebuild our City and launching us toward the future.  Let us hope that continues to be our path and vision.  Let us hope we can teach our children that "Tomorrow is more important to you than yesterday."

Regards  --  Cliff

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