Wanting the Unwanted
“Heritage Wanted, Heritage Unwanted” by Lucyna Rotter and Piotr Legutko (Review)
Cultural heritage is one of the most important aspects of our history and identity. It is a treasure passed down from generation to generation that shapes our view of the world and influences our daily lives. We admire with pride what our ancestors built, we observe with curiosity what the representatives of other cultures have built – we try to understand each other, sometimes fascinated we find our origins in the elements of our own heritage so we begin to understand some of the emotions, the reflexes, the sense of beauty. All these elements breathe goodness, set us creatively and positively towards our surroundings, and yet they do not exhaust the forms in which we come into contact with the past we have come to share. There are also elements that we would not like to see, that our compatriots or fellow citizens did not want to see either. Objects which became traces of a tragedy inflicted on a supra-individual scale – on communities or nation. We treat unwanted heritage as ‘ballast’ or ‘burden’ that represents a unique challenge for many communities. This heritage, which arose from circumstances beyond our control, can affect our lives in a variety of ways. While many of its elements are in material form, visible in space, its impact manifests itself primarily on an emotional level. This kind of legacy may require time and effort to understand and work through, in order to avoid transmitting these problems to future generations (Schulberg 1997, 324). It is also possible to adopt an attitude that tells us to get rid of forcibly imposed elements that remind us of a past marked by suffering or freedom deprivation. To remove and build anew, without the burden of trauma, without complexes and thorns. However, this is not always possible. For many people, struggling with such a legacy can be difficult, but at the same time it can be an opportunity for learning and personal growth. It is worth emphasising that whatever unwanted legacy we inherit, we are in control of how we react to it and the steps we take to influence our lives and the lives of future generations.
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