A few days ago (Wednesday, 14th March) I looked at how people sometimes question the relevance of events such as the Holocaust and how some do not wish to participate in or view works (whether art, photography, documentary or film) which deal with such a difficult subject. I quoted Henri Begson and after reading Gaston Bachelard’s ‘The Poetics of Space’, I came upon this quote regarding Eugene Minkowski:
“Minkowski followed Bergson in accepting the notion on ‘elan vital’ as the dynamic origin of human life. Referring to Tymienwicka’s book ‘Phenomenology and Science’ we can say that for Minkowski, the essence of life is not ‘a feeling of being, of existence’ but a feeling of participation in flowing onward, necessarily expressed in terms of time and secondarily expressed in terms of space.”
In this quote, I read that we are all somehow partipants of the same past, the same space; that events 60 years ago in Poland are just as relevant as they are now. Bergson’s quote equating the past’s existence with that of objects warns us that just because we do not look does not mean that the past stops – in effect, one might say that the horrors of the past continue to this day; they are happening all the time.