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Julia Pavón Benito, Researcher of the project "Creativity and Cultural Heritage" of Institute for Culture and Society and professor of the School of Philosophy and Letters.

Forgetfulness, the eternal enemy of report

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 11:57:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

In a changing society, it is possible that posing challenges can be one of the most attractive or, if I may say so, most risky challenges. In the case of looking ahead and assessing what role history and cultural heritage will play in the development of a historical-regional space such as Navarre, one more Degree . More than seven centuries ago, the archbishop of Toledo, the Navarrese Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, stated in the prologue of the Historia de los hechos de España, that his goal was to avoid oblivion, the eternal enemy of the report. He thus defined History, as have other historians up to the present day, as a living discipline with the capacity to mediate between the past and the present and, in short, to illuminate the future.

History is thus understood more as a service to society than as an instrument for promote a particular approach or to propose a specific and perhaps even pre-determined thesis , as the British Hispanist John Elliott said in his book on The Historian's official document . In the same way, the material and immaterial traces of the culture inherited from past times can be understood as the case of art, music, literature, language, landscape or traditions as a common substratum; heritage in which each generation has been and is capable of identifying and projecting itself, in a braided scenario where fiction and reality put and have put into play their virtues, but also their miseries. Navarre has not been alien to these circumstances.

To rescue or to continue rescuing the past, in the broadest of its senses, is in itself the challenge of the History of Navarre, far from the media or circumstantial arena of interests, opinions and sensitivities, and also beyond attending to or prioritizing opportunistic objectives. History, without going into the discussion of whether or not it is a science, has become today more than ever a discipline to respond to the emotions and requirements of majorities and minorities, of old and young, of amateurs and connoisseurs, and of a whole group of women and men who need to satisfy their curiosity, often as a good for entertainment and leisure. History, which permeates everything, has never had, as these lustrums, so much media coverage, occupying spaces between new technologies, television series and the political forum that once we would not have imagined. However, and on repeated occasions, it has become an object of trivialization by being almost exclusively a mass distraction resource , by entering the contagious world of mercantilist use. This reality is illustrated by the affirmation of professor Nuccio Ordine, in a essay of reference letter graduate The usefulness of the useless, when he comments that knowledge and knowledge, among which the historical is logically situated, are in danger in a civilization where the dictatorship of profit has reached unlimited power.

What can we expect then for the future of this past? What road map should we propose for the generations to come? What can we tell them about what it is, what it means and what it means to know the past of Navarre? Are we going to let ourselves be infected by the proposal of the political scientist Francis Fukuyama and make History and its bequest shipwrecked, affirming that the end of History has come, including that of this old kingdom? It would not be unreasonable if, abandoning ourselves to our fate, we chose to think that we can only continue "using" History. In this way, Romanization, the construction of the medieval kingdom, the political and social mutations of modernity and the reception of contemporary fractures and changes, even those of our recent history, with its achievements and failures, would be arbitrarily manageable pieces or simply cards in a deck of cards. That is, we would be constructors of the "correctly historical".

When a couple of days ago I was discussing with a friend the purpose of these lines, she told me with surprise that the History of this land is what it is and that its cultural traces are also. Her affirmation, as president of a association of Friends for the promotion of Heritage for young people, with which she takes almost daily the pulse of what the new generations of Navarre think, cannot contain greater truth. Reading and interpreting the future of History, and more so of Navarre, cannot be done by looking back with nostalgia, nor with a behaviorist exercise, because at the risk of proceeding with selective whims we would leave the most important thing by the way; that is, the best of the benefits. Because the gain of interpreting and projecting the past into the future, begins in the present or as expressed by the poet and essayist, José Jiménez Lozano, in his Cavilaciones y melancolías, we despise everything we have received, and we want to become demiurges founders of a new world, and thus the only impulse we receive is to destroy everything for a reign of a thousand years on the burial of everything we have inherited and do not want to overcome, but to destroy. To become great? Again the report and the oblivion.