We live in a country that lives on its past. We talk of kings and queens, battles and castles. Our favourite weekend activity is to visit a stately home and everyone knows about 1066 and all that. Our days of empire are behind us. Thank goodness in my opinion.
Our sense of history, pomp and tradition however can hold us back. A young country with no such baggage can design its own future while we have to build upon the strata of time.
This need not be true.
History is an odd thing. We think of it as something in the past when in truth it is the present gone old. Everything that has ever happened has taken place in the present. It is only from our perspective that it looks historical. History starts in the modern.
When organisations start they don’t set out to be history. They may wish to build upon a heritage but they start out at the cutting edge of whatever field they are working in. When a castle was built, for example, it was fitted with the latest technology for comfort and defence. It is only now as standards have developed and threats have changed that we admire their faded grandeur.
History and tradition should not be an excuse to stifle progress. Indeed, history and tradition are yesterday’s progress. Only by focussing on using modern technology, adopting it and adapting it to our needs while encouraging others to do the same can we ensure that we are around to define tomorrow’s history. Allowing people to rest on their laurels and defending old practice under the banner of tradition is to sign the death warrant on our future.
In a hundred years from now, what we have today, the very edge of modernity, will be seen as history. What do we want people to look back and remember us by?