Saturday, 26 March 2016

All our yesterdays


True to my usual form of getting into things ten years late, I'm a recent YouTube convert. Through said medium I've recently become an eager fan of Millennial Woes, the lad with the soothing Edinburgh brogue who's making a name for himself in the exciting world of what he calls the Reactosphere. While viewing one of his vids I was fascinated when he mentioned the idea of race memory. This reminded me of a post I wrote here four years ago. Back then I was unaware of race memory specifically, and being the numpty I am, was blissfully unaware that a theory for the hunch I had when I wrote that post, existed and was based in genetics.

The reason I say all this now is that I believe race (or genetic) memory may be responsible for feelings and emotions I've had all these years. I'll use an example: Apologies to UK based readers here, but I'll do a bit of explaining because many of my readers are from outside the UK. I live in a suburb on the edge of a city in England. Apart from seven years or so when I lived in other cities, I always have. This suburb contains three housing estates - all small in scale as housing estates go. The first was built in the early 1950s as Council housing. This is social housing built and owned by the state to provide secure, good quality housing with low rents to working class families. All the houses on this first estate are modest and (with slight variation) all look the same.

A second Estate in my suburb was built slightly after the first, in the mid-1950s. This estate was built for owner occupiers and therefore the houses were a bit grander (although like the first still semi-detached). It was here that my parents moved after leaving their council estates on the other side of town after they married and thus moved up the social ladder a bit, and it was here where ol' Berrocscir spent his early years.

The third estate was built in the mid-1980s and it's where I currently live. My point is??!! Well, it's occurred to me for a while that the houses on my estate are now thirty years old, but to my eyes they could pass for ten. This is maybe due to building techniques, brickwork colouring and tiles used, but they definitely feel 'new' and from up the hill this last estate looks like it doesn't really fit, where as the first two seem to fit snugly to the rising gradient. They seem to cling naturally to the gentle slope, to my eye, giving the mirage of appearing to be a natural extension of their environment. Sorry if this sounds a bit too Pseuds Corner! When the new estate was built the developers left old trees and hedgerows alone which helps a bit, but I remember when this estate was a field and I have a vague childhood memory of seeing a horse here - I'm no psychologist but maybe this plays some part in how our genes orientate our soul towards the past. This 1980s estate will never stop being 'new' to me because I can remember what was there before it. The council estate came before me so I'm comforted by it.

On the council estate the houses look their age, but this is a good thing. They are 'lived in' and cosy especially during the grey winter months when the nights draw in. Moss grows on their tiled roofs. I see nature close to us. They look like the cottages of our fathers. Seeing them induces a great sense of comfort in me as do the houses in the second estate.  Is this architecture a sign of race memory? I don't know. I think what I'm feeling is a sense of what Roger Scruton calls oikophila - a love of home.
Maybe oikophilia is a result of race memory.

Most people have a great love of, and joy in, the natural world, the countryside and wilderness. I know I've always been grateful that my suburb has glorious countryside on its doorstep. Our ancestors from the pre-industrial age may be calling us via our DNA when we go off rambling or to camp. I have no expertise in this subject, but I love the idea of it.