The last line of The Stone Gods is ‘Everything is imprinted forever with what it once was.’ I don’t believe we need be in thrall to the past, though many people are, and without even knowing it — it’s the basis of Greek drama, but I do believe that the past is the territory we have to work with if we want to develop as human beings. Art began as a memory-system. Before we knew how to write, the oral tradition allowed important events to be preserved. Poetry, painting and carving were ways of keeping continuity with the past. Weirdly now, in our CCTV world, where everything is documented, we are in danger of losing continuity with the past. Art always puts its weight on the side of the imbalance, and so art has an important part to play now in helping us all to remember what it means to be human. We are in great danger of forgetting ourselves as human beings as science and the machine claim to do everything for us.
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