Only researchers, employees, and a few tourists read the quote. Yet it is one that practically everyone knows. "What is past is prologue."1 It is inscribed in marble beneath a statue of a woman with an open book on her lap. At the researchers' and employees' entrance to the National Archives. Want to see the Founding Documents? Enter on the opposite side of the building.
That quote echoes through my mind regularly, the intervals between moments spent dwelling on it ever decreasing. All because of something a friend pontificated several years ago. What she said did not, at the time, make me shake in my boots. But the shaking began a couple of years ago and is now bordering on worry.
It turns out my friend is a prophet. The reason for the worry is another prophecy from the early 1800s. "If we [Mexicans] are not successful, our grandchildren and their grandchildren will beg for crumbs from the Americans!"2
The History of the World, Part 2 seems to me to be repeating the history of the world from a time just beyond living memory. A time that only a handful of people alive today were part of. And then, only as children feeling the effects.
Remember the '20s not only for their Roaring but also for their restriction; the '30s for their meager times; and the '40s for the results of the previous two decades. Why? "Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it."3
Yes, this post is purposefully vague. My hope is that my friend really isn't a prophet, but just a hack pulpiteer. My prayer is for her to be wrong. And to avoid anxiety or, worse, hysteria (mostly on my part), I refrain from passing along her prophecy.
It's time for something other than prophecies. It's time for some preachifying. Which brings us to the last quote for today. "The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace."4
If we all live by those words, perhaps we would never repeat our own mistakes.
1. William Shakespeare
2. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
3. George Santayana
4. Carlos Santana
5 days ago