Towards the end of the feature Why non-fiction is booming, is a line – rather a paragraph – that I would call a conversation starter: "In the present climate, more and more thinkers from the past are vanishing from view because some of their beliefs are at odds with our own. This is near-literal narcissism: we only want to see ourselves reflected in what we read. And if we refuse to engage with writers from the bad old days – that is most of recorded history – we lose something inestimably precious."

Without getting into the political and cultural controversy incited by this statement, I would like to refer to something more profound that I find in here: starting the new year on a clean slate, disregarding the good, bad and ugly experiences, without keeping in view the learnings from our past, is unassailable. For, I believe, our future does not have a firm leg to stand on if we think that the first step to building it is by sweeping all that was ugly in our past under the carpet. A glossy, smooth veneer can only cover but cannot cure what ails us. Sooner or later the scars will show.

So, as we step into the new year, hoping to wipe out 2020 from our collective consciousness and starting afresh, we also need to keep in view all that we have learnt in what has been the most cataclysmic 366 days of our lives.

While we still don’t know how history will record the events and experiences of 2020, let’s not forget the wisdom we have gained from it, making it the foundation on which we will our year to come.

Here’s wishing you all the very best in the new year...

Reach me at mshekar@gulfnews.com.

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