Their words unlock the past and unveil the meaning of our “now”—where we find ourselves today. Elders are the living memory of our world. We travel, we survive our daily grind, we have no past when we reach a new land, our life out there flows at an unchanging rhythm, a constant present time. Places are like people, we need to know their past in order to understand their present. Our Elders and a comprehension of their tales, are the way for us to achieve a firmer understanding of our own present.
Sitting, talking, at their side, quietly, listening to their words, learning, is a way to absorb through our skin the past of a land and what made it into what it is today. We construct a bridge, becoming part of a story of a years past. We join the flow of a culture and as we immerse ourselves, naturally become a part of it. Language can be a barrier if we permit it— however this can be so easily overcome if we accept the simple truth that all of us are human beings, and there are so many different ways to speak without words.
The Elders are the guardians of our own lost history, the silent intimate history. Us, the common people, are made of emotions and personal experiences. At the end of our days, in the books we have created, we read how the ‘movers and shakers’, the presidents and kings who lead the big “human show”: dictators and ‘big-wigs’, our constant wars, the traders and global economy have shaped our world that we inherit. Our reading guides us through history as experience by our Elders and we learn whether it is better to fight the past, or just take our place in the world, as we find it.
In those countries where technology has drastically and dramatically changed the way we interact and exchange our life experiences and information, people are experiencing a dramatic perceived “speeding up” of their lives on a constant and frequently brutal basis. The living memory of our Elders, past down to us, provides the opportunity to slow down, to deliberate & to compare & decide if the future we are charging towards, is the one we really seek.
Our Elders are a treasure of wisdom and experiences, a clear insight for us into the turbulence of earlier years as experienced by our own people of an earlier and disappearing generation. This act of quiet contemplation, provides a deeper and more meaningful insight into life and it’s challenges for those who are prepared to dig deep into the life experiences of our Elders.
Elders are the living memory of this world of ours, a treasure we should struggle to understand & preserve. A society with no memory is a society without identity and with questionable purpose.
We have selected some digital portraits from around the world, as our homage to the Elders of all cultures