- Oscar Brown, Jr.
THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD
The greatest story never told is the story of our kind, the human race
in its phantasmagoria of adventures and misadventures here on its home
planet. It is a profound mystery concealed deep within our ignorance, beneath
layers of deception in the rubble of sham and shame that has come tumbling down
from the towering aspirations of Un-numbered generations. The story begins at
any point where one takes hold to unravel and sort it out, because from that
point it will inevitably flashback to antiquity, and beyond, returning to the
farthest reaches of human occupation, or lurch forward toward impending
tomorrows, to which our yesterdays may, or may not entitle us.
The greatest story never told is a true story. But whose truth?
Here we must rely on the tellers; they who were the dwellers in cities, sites and civilizations long reduced to ruin. Here we must rely on the witness, true or false, borne by conflicting interests, calling through the ages from widely differing, distant points of view. It is a story as much colored by superstition and self-interest, as it is lit by reality and candor. It is a tale as contradictory and confounding as life itself, for indeed, it is the very narrative of life itself.
History begins when our kind commences keeping track of its affairs and passing versions of events along to its offspring. It is only as objective an account of what occurred as the reminder is inclined to recall. It is so subject to absent-minded, carelessness, and forgetfulness that much of what might be useful to know has been lost forever. Many a vital secret has gone to the grave with its keeper. Therefore, our investigation requires studious research to reveal existing pieces of the enormous puzzle of our past, and a careful putting of two and two together to reconstruct what happened. Here and there we may find hard facts. Often we can only speculate and conjecture from
evidence that is altogether circumstantial, but for all its problems and despite our shortcomings in solving them, it is among the most fascinating and rewarding undertakings possible, because it provides us, as nothing else can, images of our kind as we once were, the more to reveal who and what we have become, the better to determine what we can and must be to continue.
Any student who has yawned through the standard history imposed by
most current curricula may find in the foregoing an invitation to unrelenting boredom. And no wonder! Smothered under a blanket of changing names, countless dates, and seemingly deliberate confusion, the history to which most of us are initially exposed seems designed to discourage further study. Yet, further study is just what is needed to bring the narrative together and into focus so that it can be told and retold in manners, styles, and fashions to turn our kind on to ourselves and our forebears. We need to be exposed to the great glories and the grave inequities of human intercourse in order that we become capable of seeing it in a dynamic, comprehensive, and comprehensible framework
This framework would benefit from "state of the art" communication and presentation techniques. The information which could never be ferreted out now can be compiled and distributed by methods heretofore unknown. Simplistic, disinformative, racist, nationalist, self-serving versions of events and the confusions they cause, can be offset by true to life graphic presentations of peoples who otherwise slip by incognito, having, perhaps repeatedly, changed their names, costumes, and languages.
Perhaps the foremost difficulty in discovering historic facts will be found in the political task of wrestling them away from the "central intelligence" that for centuries have distorted or secreted them, in order to protect some unfair advantage (either real or imagined). Those who have taken credit where it was not due: whose hypocrisies and cruelties would be damning were they exposed: whose foolishness and ignorance would be humiliating were they brought to light. They and others who have reason to fear facing the facts will fight furiously to conceal them. Watergate demonstrated that the knowledge that a "cover-up" is a crime, does not deter the criminals who are committing it. Such persons never want the truth of their actions and their motives known, and will zealously try to conceal the wrongdoings of their ancestors, as well.
To be sure, history does reveal some heinous crimes, but their detection can only serve to impede their repetition. The man-made calamities which have befallen our kind, largely are the result of cruelties and insecurities that ought to be exposed and fixed.
Down long corridors and steps
Descending to the past
Delving deep into the depths
Of mysteries that are vast
Digging dusty evidence
Left by those long gone
We may stumble on some sense
Of how to carry on