09 November 2015

Heritage and Clutter

One person's heritage is often another person's clutter.  The items of heritage are seen by the latter as irrelevant, superfluous, unnecessary obstacles and distractions.  Clutter is something in the way of something else, especially when that something else is a goal to be achieved.

There can be many arguments, in households, in families and in societies, when one person's heritage is swept away, thrown away or destroyed to make way for the ambitions of someone else.  The problem is that the result is grief.  Heritage, once lost, cannot be replaced.  It is, therefore, much like a person.

This is one of the greatest challenges facing the world.  It is whether the argument over what is valuable in the minds of some people and useless in the minds of other people can ever be reconciled.  It goes to the heart of human rights.

To be human, in the view of many people espousing human rights, is to be irreplaceable.  It is to have intrinsic value.

To be human, in accordance with human rights, is to be respected as an essential part of the heritage of the world.  It is not to be considered as clutter.

Heritage relates to memory, to symbolism, to belonging, to identity, to knowledge, and to the inheritance of one generation to the next.  To destroy heritage is to destroy part of what it is to be human.

It may seem as if the removal of layers of the past can simplify life, yet is also diminishes life.  It diminishes what it means to be human.  It is a denial of experience rather than the transcendence of the past.

To rise above past experiences of distress is to embrace heritage peacefully and compassionately, with an acknowledgement of the value of human rights.  The meaning of being human is itself often open to argument.

Memories are associated with all sorts of items, people, places and events.  It is the association with memory that is often most valuable to people whose lives may appear to be cluttered.  Memories often define us, personally and socially.  It is probably why particular photographs and particular recollections from the past continue to have meaning in the present for particular individuals.

Your own quiet reflections may bring further meaning to your life when thinking about the meaning of your own heritage.   It may be especially worthwhile to reflect upon the possible meaning and value of your clutter to other people.

How do you usually separate heritage from clutter?


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