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ARCHEOLOGY

by Igor S. Livramento
Archeology.
Arche, from Greek, "origin". Logos, also from Greek, "knowledge, to know",
therefore "science", but also "word". This clearly points that it is a search for the "origin
of words", so forth "the origin of stories", but also a search for "the first word". I go a bit
further to say every beginning is a cut on the Real, on this continuous flow that is reality,
this endless stream that is: "what is happening". Being it a cut, the past is always a
construction made from the present. And here I remember Walter Benjamin: the past is
an urgency of the present1. Indeed. Lets make it clearer.
We make (our) history when, like an author, choose the order of the facts in the
narrative, choose the words of the narrator, choose the very voice tone and volume in
which to tell our tale. That categorizes history as a narration, as a narrative, as a story,
more than a historical account. Dare we now name it (hi)story. But isn't History that too?
Isnt it an ordered collection of events and facts, put in order and narrated, described by
those empowered to do so?
Well, here lies us. And I recall that quotation of Benjamin once more, now with a
difference: the past is an urgency of the present. An urgency, what a symptomatic word.
But words are not gold, they are not made to decorate2 and the Jewish historian was
aware of that, clearly, his choice wasnt gratuitous. Lets reflect on that for a moment:
what is an urgency? Something that urges. To urge can mean a constant demand, an
insistent demand, but it may also mean something which its development is about to
happen.
Isnt that the very moment when history is made, thought about, reflected on,
questioned, put to test, so on so forth? When a change comes, or better, when it is just
about to arrive, in its expectation, on the very hesitation punching our guts constantly
when looking atop a cliff. Wait. Is it hesitation we feel or it is anguish? Matters not.
The very moment we make history, is the moment preceding a change? Yes.
However, a change in what, where? In history, of course! A change so deep, so imminent,
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2

BENJAMIN, Walter. Sobre o conceito de histria. In: Magia e tcnica, arte e poltica. Translated by me.
RAMOS, Graciliano. Prefcio. In: Angstia. Translated by me.

so urgent, we review history, we change its narration, and we retell that one story one last
time. With that new light shed on our lens, may I propose a name for this historical
moment when we make history that is, when we write history shall we call it now
crisis. Symptomatic again, indeed, not without a reason once more.
Krsis3, from Greek, was the decisive moment after a doctor medicated a diseased,
waiting for the response of the disease itself, the tension of waiting what shall come: be
it either Life or Death, the win of the diseased over the diseased or vice-versa. Later on,
on Latin, that word, translated as crisis, came to mean a decisive moment, a sudden
change. A decisive moment, that is: a moment of decision. An older Greek form may
serve well to understand where we are heading: kreinen. Kreinen4 meant a decision, a
judgment, also to sift, the act of sifting.
With all too new light on our lenses, history (and History) are differently
understood now, and Walter Benjamin was never more right: it is the very act of sifting,
a deliberate (synonym: calculated) choice of what to tell and what not. Not even history
is that supposedly neutral anymore as exposed, it is more a narration than anything,
what would one expected? It is made of words!
Let us take differently on the word crisis again, now looking at the adjective
critical. If a crisis is a judgment, but also the act of sifting, what it means to be
critical? What is for one to be a critical viewer, reader, and so many other positions one
can place oneself through life? It means not to swallow everything passively; it means to
filter the information one is fed, to limit and filter all sources. On a more radical take it
means to make history.
Be critical, my fellows, be forever on crisis.

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4

Found on: <http://www.ciberduvidas.com/pergunta.php?id=28767>, translated by me.


Found on: <http://origemdapalavra.com.br/site/palavras/crise/>, translated by me.