Railroad Perfection – #11

Terrence – But, I don’t

Natalie – It’s more of a question of complacency versus memory, don’t you think?  It’s easy to forget and to do nothing, almost everything else is a lot more difficult.

Terrence – Yes, but I don’t see

Natalie – And I think that if we let the children forget, or if we never teach them at all, then when they are adults they won’t know, and they won’t be able to teach their own children.  It’ll all be lost.

Terrence – Surely not.  How could anyone forget London? How could the collective memory of the United Kingdom let it go?

Natalie – Well, it won’t happen today or tomorrow.  It will be subtle.  Measured.  I don’t think it would be noticeable from one day or even week to the next.  But we’ll turn around the memory will be sufficiently dimmed that any form of kindling will be unable to restore the same sense of what we had.  Think of Rome.  It’s a relic.  Nobody has the passion for it now that they did five hundred years ago.  It has been forgotten for what it was, and now it is known for its age, its prior majesty, its place in history but not its place in now.  It’s a spent force, a fired shot.

Terrence – I understand that.  But it’s different.  Hear me out.  London is gone.  It isn’t going to be a gaudy replica of itself.  It cannot exist anywhere other than memory.  So how could we keep it alive?  What could we do or say as schoolteachers to properly convey the city to someone who never experienced it?  Movies from thirty years ago seem dated and out of sync with people today.  Movies of a place that doesn’t exist anymore?  It’s meaningless.

Natalie – I suppose.  I suppose that’s true.  What happens in fifty years when all anyone thinks about of London-now is the enormous crater in the ground?

Terrence – God help us.

Part of the Railroad Perfection series

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