Spring 2014 is here and I've decided that it is time to return to Julie's Island, as I've got some new perspectives to share. During the past few years, my voice became increasingly silent when it came to columns and blogs, as I turned to focus on some long overdue research and writing. Some years ago, I learned by my own research that my grandfather was a fanatic National Socialist and an SS man. After the war he left for Brazil, where I was born.
Yes, and? He was my grandfather, he lived in a different time with different values. What he and his comrades did has nothing to do with me. Time to forget about it and to move on - return to my beautiful island world of health and nature, rather than to dwell in this underworld of murder and hatred. I've heard this view repeated quite a few times by now, but I've long had the feeling, confirmed by what I have learned, that history in general, and our family histories in particular, influence us in most profound ways. It is only when we choose to walk into those caves, the secret family wombs that we emerged out of, and shed light on the frightening darkness, that we begin to see the connections between the past and the present, and be able to ask relevant questions about the future.
This isn't news, you might say. Of course, all of us are influenced by and, one way or another, products of history. The great tectonic forces of our cultures have caused our families to move, sometimes very far away to settle in new lands, and has placed them in certain conditions, economic and social, which form our circumstances. Yet, what interests me is the way that these forces impact the micro-culture of our families and the nano-culture of individuals within these. Science has long since begun to look into our cells and begun to realize that the traumas of our families are imprinted there. This doesn't mean that we are doomed to repeat bad behaviors, but it does mean that each of us has a responsibility to become conscious of what history has left us with at a personal level, and to use this as a source of strength to ask new questions and make a difference.
We live in times when the creed of my grandfather raises its ugly head again throughout Europe. Who could have believed it after we know what happened as a result of the last monstrous experience? Throughout the world, extremism and nationalism seem to be the single most dangerous forces thwarting progress. Here in my home country of Sweden, the rise of racist, facist and extreme nationalist forces compels those of us who have lived close to history, who are conscious of it in our cells, and who remember the details and parallels which are often overlooked or underestimated, to speak out.
Let's make Julie's Island into a place for knowledge and reflection about what we bear with us and how we can use it well to create beauty and consciousness. In addition, you are welcome to my overhauled personal web site where you can catch up with me and the things I get up to. Happy Spring.