Lest We Forget

November is a month of reflection – perhaps due to the fact that we are getting close to the years’ end – but also because Remembrance / Armistice Day (11 November) is a significant date in most countries’ diaries.

It is a date, with its associated meanings, we should never relinquish or extinguish from our memories, or our societies.

It makes me incredibly sad (and angry) that there are some who would deny, or distort, the history surrounding the two World Wars, not to mention all the other conflicts that came before and after. We must remember – we must learn – we must not forget.

For the Fallen

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

At present, in swathes of society around the world, we are experiencing the disturbing spread of cognitive bias with regards to history.

The most dangerous form being confirmation bias – ‘the tendency to interpret new information as confirmation of your pre-existing beliefs and opinions’.

This is a subject we have covered in The Square previously – and will again – but do check out this superb article on cognitive bias – it is something we should all be aware of: https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-bias.html

 

 

Bust of Cicero (1st-cent. BC) – Palazzo Nuovo – Musei Capitolini – Rome
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Cicero stated that:

 

 

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?

Freemasonry, with its own unique and fascinating history, has so often been maligned, misunderstood, and had that history endlessly reimagined.

But when swathes of people will not accept the recorded version of events due to unconscious bias’, then we are in trouble.

Not only are we products of our collective histories but we need to learn from them, not consign them to the melting pot of conspiracies, or the various ‘isms’ we construct.

It makes one wonder – what, or who are we or will be without our respective histories?

Memories, of course, can be unreliable but if the extant records of the past are to be denied or refuted, where do we go from there. Something to ponder…

Article by: Philippa Lee. Editor

Philippa Lee (writes as Philippa Faulks) is the author of eight books, an editor and researcher.

Philippa was initiated into the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) in 2014.

Her specialism is ancient Egypt, Freemasonry, comparative religions and social history. She has several books in progress on the subject of ancient and modern Egypt.  Selection of Books Online at Amazon

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