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Heredity and living after the mistakes of the forefathers
In my history lessons I was taught that Louis XVI paid with his head the mistakes of his father and especially of his adulated grand-father Louis the XIV.
Today a similar question arises with the Syrian situation and it is questionable whether Assad can get away with the same behavior his father used, or will he have to pay the price of what his father has left.
My question is double, for one thing that I am interested is, history and the repetition of history, can clairvoyance save the inheriting generation? And the other question, how do you translate this extreme cases to the simple's man inheritance? How do you consider your heredity?
Dear Julie,

I would distinguish between conscious mistakes (and clear political situations) and the unconscious inheritance of the past. Personally, I find the second more riveting, although the first is certainly strategically important. But Bachelard says that

Over and above our memories, the house we were born in is physically inscribed in us. It is a group of organic habits.
...The house we were born in has engraved within us the hierarchy of the various forms of inhabiting.
...The word habit is too worn a word to express this passionate liaison of our bodies, which do not forget, with an unforgettable house.


I think there is something visceral, something deep in the way in which we call forth a certain environment which we feel, for whatever reason, to be familiar. (The word familiar is, of course, telling.) Our entire vision of the present is circumscribed by a certain way of being whose parameters we recognize only dimly. Nor is it exactly clear what it would mean to live differently. One can wake up earlier in the morning but does that mean one's dreams (and nightmares) are any different?

I don't mean to say we're determined by the past -- we have an enormous amount of free will, and responsibility. But we are certainly framed by it. Sometimes the frame is more ornate, sometimes more restrictive, sometimes only visible to others.
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Latest Post: March 8, 2012 at 6:12 PM
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