If history is a cathedral, and the accepted facts the stones, then no expansion of understanding can happen without art, without appreciation for those who been dreaming and revisioning all along as a survival strategy. No offering of new facts, however extensive, will ever be enough to alter old visions, except by nurturing new visionary architects. New material can raise new questions, as in, what can we make of this? –– and, by extension, of us? To offer new stones and call it “history” is a lie of omission. The history is what is yet to be made.
Inspiration: In a recent episode of NPR’s Throughline podcast (“Do We Need a Shared History?”), historian Tamin Ansary shared this insight, “History is composed of facts the way that a cathedral is composed of bricks . . . But the bricks are not the cathedral.” This seems like a much-needed observation for our times. I am inspired by those who recognize (as Ben Okri put it) when we have arrived at “A Time for New Dreams.”