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It occurs to me that a question that ought to be answered before I start writing this essay is, why am I writing it? What drew me to Eliade and to Nietzsche? What interests me so strongly about the notion of constructing history by forgetting events?

Thinking about this today, I came up with a tentative idea that I am interested in this because of my apocalyptic worldview -- for many years now I have lived with a fear or expectation that soon, within my lifetime, would come a major catastrophic event that would mark the end of this historical era (the era that has been in progress in the west since the beginning of the Renaissance). I have not always acknowledged this fear; but it has been present on some level at least all of my adult life. Could this be what draws me to the thesis I am working on now? Hard to say -- since I have not even formulated what the thesis is besides that it has something to do with history and with forgetting -- but I am going to take as a working hypothesis that at least a large part of my interest in these books stems from this fear.

While this is not going to be foremost in my thoughts approaching this essay, one potential side benefit of working on it should be a better understanding of the fear, and of its costs and benefits.

posted evening of Thursday, June 24th, 2004
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