Monday, 23 July 2012

Gone but not forgotten.

Do great people sometimes get it wrong or do you need to look deeper into their words and meanings to truly understand the message of a great mind.

Albert Einstein said - "Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

Marilyn or Albert?

Reading is an important life skill to have, it helps the individual to attain a level of knowledge. But whilst reading is a crucial ability to have. It does nothing for creating understanding which can only be attained by reflecting on what you have read. Reading and knowing is worthless. It's not the same as reading and understanding. Many people read as a diversion to boredom. For others it is an escape from thinking. For many an escape from the reality of the world that surrounds them.

As a child I often went with my mother to visit family graves. We would just go to tidy up the graves and plant a few flowers. Mother always talked a little about the individuals who were buried in each plot. She would tell stories and tales, describing them as she remembered them. Their work, their features, their temperament, their likes and their dislikes because she thought it was important that I should know. I took a mild interest and I always liked the funny stories that she would tell of their escapades.

Many years later I decided to look at my family history. I read a few books and started as a complete novice working my way through the usual records of births, marriages, deaths and places of burial. Lots of dry facts but very little in the way of any substance. I could find out their occupations from census records. The names and ages of their siblings. I could find out something of their status from where they lived. Lots of little clues to piece together to gain some awareness.

The things my mother had talked about gave much more of an insight into the real people. I remembered much of what she had said of their little foibles - who liked a drink - who had a ready smile - who had a sharp tongue - who was religious and who was a rogue.

One comment that mother made has always stuck a chord. It was made when we stood on top if the hillside overlooking the graveyard. There we were, with a vista of hundreds of gravestones. She said "Each one of those is a life and once they were important to someone, but now they lie forgotten." Whenever I visit mothers grave, I remember her words. Once I just knew, now I understand.


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