Today’s guest post comes from Abd Al-Rahman, who formerly contributed to Sophia’s Pockets with the post, Silence is Golden. He explores the idea of finding oneself through the exploration of others and their history.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Ever since I was a young kid, I always felt this inclination towards history. I always believed that’s where experience truly lies. I guess that’s why I always liked museums and historical places. I couldn’t miss a chance to explore how the folks before us lived. It drove me to long lonely, but yet entertaining, trips. I couldn’t stop at any boundaries, the word trespassing didn’t really matter at the time, and I can’t really tell how many times I got caught by guards for entering restricted areas.
But why would I put myself into such trouble? Not because it’s always pleasant and happy, but because that’s where the meat of life is, “the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days.” As Ben Saunders says. And also it’s not to explore just the bricks and stones, but to explore people, people like us who had their moments of joy and sorrow, their moments of weakness and moments of greatness. To learn how did they overcome their problems, how they managed to endure when nobody could, to learn not to repeat their mistakes, and how do we live up to their expectations.
Well, and I can say that I’m gifted with the gift of feeling the scent of the place. Whenever I visit any place, I always visualize seeing the people who built it wandering here and there, and like to imagine what situations would occur. But finally I came to the conclusion that what I’m really doing is exploring myself.
Everywhere I go, I feel a piece of myself react with the place. Right here a soldier stood in defense of this citadel, how did he feel? Would I feel the same?. There, a mighty pharaoh sat and ruled Egypt. This busy square once witnessed a great battle that defined and shaped the world as we know it.
Every new place I visit, every book I read and every map I look at they change the way I see the world. I can feel the wisdom pass through the walls of the places, and through the pages of books directly to my heart. Stories of struggles and epics of wars, romance of statues and drama of assassinations, they all affect me deeply to a point I can no more describe.
In the end, I always believed that exploring our history not only gives us a chance to explore ourselves, but also marks where we stand from our past, and therefore, sheds a beam of light on the future, so we can predict, plan and welcome it with open hands, and most importantly, with open hearts.