Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Re-Creating The Past

"...she'd seen since the Change that you couldn't re-create the past no matter how you tried, though myths and stories about the past could be a most powerful force in how folk built new ways to live in this new-old world."
-SM Stirling, The High King Of Montival (New York, 2011), p. 111.

I dislike the contradictory "new-old" although the meaning is clear enough.

Might it be possible to re-create the past with sufficient resources? Such an attempt is part of the Time Patrol history:

"'Coordinator Stantel V...In the thirty-eighth century. The Great Experimenter - colonies reproducing past socieities -'"
-Poul Anderson, "Delenda Est" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), 2, p. 180.

It would be necessary to change not only conditions but also consciousness.

7 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Given something as shocking, horrible, and traumatic as the Change, I think it would be possible for groups of determined enthusiasts to take a lot ORIGINATING in the past to use again in new ways. Think of Norman Arminger and his more ruthless supporters from the SCA, the Mackenzie "clan," and the "neo-Dunedain" of Astrid Larsson, etc. This would be esp. the case if those ways or ideas WORKED.

    Mike Havel's Bearkillers were less OBVIOUS about taking ideas from the past, but really, they had to, de facto.

    Politically and socially, the city state of Corvallis seemed to have changed less, altho it was unusual for the FACULTY of a university to have provided so much leadership. Academic types are not usually thought likely to be much good in politics.

    Sean

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  2. In a later volume, a character remarks that you cannot truly recreate the past, "even if you wear its clothes". All that's accessible is -ideas- about the past.

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    1. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      I agree, that makes sense. I would also add that those ideas about the past would become part of both the daily lives an pasts of the new post-Change societies. They would become LIVING ideas and would not seem strange to the people living and believing in those ideas.

      Sean

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    2. Sure, but ideas -about- the past are not the ideas -of- the past. The Mackenzies aren't much like pagan Celts; the PPA is a bit more like an actual medieval European feudal system, but not much. Post-Change Japan -looks- a lot like the Edo period, but (as that character says) it's actually more like a Japanese nationalist's -idea- of Edo.

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    3. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      I think we essentially agree. Many post-Change societies took a lot from the from the past, or tried to. But could not TRULY become their models.

      Sean

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  3. This isn't a new phenomenon, either. Eg., Christianity (and Islam) are full of attempts to get back to a "pure" past, trying to recreate their early days. It never works in the way intended.

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    1. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      I agree! I think you had in mind breakaway groups splitting off from the Catholic Church on the one hand, and any number of "rigorist" sects within Islam trying to return to the "pure" past. As you said, these attempts NEVER worked as intended.

      Sean

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