Kino passes down a tale from her master this week (perhaps another tradition in this world), as Kino’s Journey takes us to na historic nation with an historic recount of an historic event. After a meal reminds her of her master (whom she seems to be seeking), Kino tells Hermes about how the old woman—then young—and her apprentice made an escape from a crooked country by grabbing the upper hand and forcing them to surrender on their terms. It’s a fun episode, one that’s more light-hearted than others, and if I’m being honest, features a pair that’s more endearing than Kino and Hermes.
The setup is really nice. In Kino-esque fashion, the master decides that instead of trying to sneak out, an effort she deems as impossible in this police-controlled nation that’s on high alert after the master breaks out her apprentice, the two will go to the top of the nation’s old clock tower and drive the police force crazy by sniping at them. They frustrate the police and then strike fear into their hearts. Eventually, the crooked police chief not only offers to let them go, but also pays them a sum to leave.
When Kino visits the town, she hears a very different tale from an old man, who not only advances a narrative that memorializes the two as heroes of justice, rather than travelers who freed themselves and took money from the nation as payment for their crimes, but also gives the authoritarian government a better image by stating that they saw the error in their ways and reformed, rather than admitting they were embarrassed and defeated. The grandfather feels no shame in advancing these lies, built upon a revolution that occurred during his lifetime and which, it’s indicated, he had first hand knowledge of. He lies to Kino and Hermes. He lies to his granddaughter.
Hermes tells Kino that he thinks this “positive” thinking is a good thing. Kino isn’t sure, but is willing to consider that possibility—after all, the nation is much kinder and better place to be than it once was, both for travelers and for its residents.
That leads to today’s question. Sometimes, the hurt of the past can paralyze, keeping us from moving forward. And even if it’s not that traumatic, it can still frustrate us, anger us, sadden us, and ultimately keep us from happiness. And we also know that there is power in positive thinking and how it can improve our health and well-being. That being said, is it okay to look fondly on our own history when may it’s not as great as we remember it being, so that we can live better now?
Is it okay to move forward with a sanguine view of the past?
As always, we want to hear your thoughts below. Please leave a comment and let us know your answer to this week’s question.
You can stream Kino’s Journey on Crunchyroll.
2 thoughts on “Kino’s Journey ~ The Beautiful World ~ Episode 7: Don’t Look Back”
Luminas here! So this is more a note on a previous post you made about my Hero Academia and nostalgia, but here it is anyway. Some paragraphs are taken from that post and retooled.
“Is it okay to move forward with a sanguine view of the past?”
I think it depends. If you’re whitewashing someone else’s painful experience of the past, inherently your version’s going to come into conflict with theirs. In that situation, seeing everything that happened to you guys with rose-colored glasses is just going to hurt you and them in the long run.
But what if you *know* how things actually went, and no one else really does, but you’re choosing to advance and remember the narrative of your past that makes you happy and bolstered your sense of purpose? That seems to me to be quite a different matter.
My example is basically this: Circa 2004-2007, when I was in high school, my mother’s brain began to degenerate. She had early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, although at the time my Dad and I didn’t know that. Dad began to lose the ability to commiserate with his wife, to talk to his wife, and this…drove him to drinking, and despair, and self-loathing. And anger towards my Mom. My high school years were some of the most painful in my life. Mom and Dad would unpredictably have yelling matches with one another, every two weeks to once every two months, depending. My job was to keep everybody more or less sane. I was fourteen.
So at the time, I became a chuunibyou. Literally— Even though I didn’t know what a chuunibyou was. I decided I’d escape into a delusional version of Reality where I could make sense of why I was in this position. It was less wish-fulfillment (although there was that) and more a desperate attempt to rationalize what was happening to my family in terms my child brain could understand. But I wasn’t alone— I had four or five people around to be chuunibyou *with me.* I had an active imagination and surprisingly high writing skill for my age bracket. And this made all the difference in the world.
When I look back on those days…I see the glorious romp we all had together, when we had fewer responsibilities and greater energy. I see the glee with which I threw my friends into increasingly over the top scenarios to see how they’d react. I’d see the complex rules of the road we laid down and the bonkers Halloween parties. Instead of being mired down in guilt, pain, and frustration….I see what we all did to make life worth living when you’re a teenager, and you can’t snap your fingers and change the world.
So my answer is based on that. Sometimes what you need when you face trauma is a comforting lie, sitting on a foundation of truth and friendship. Sometimes you need to look back at your past with the eyes of the innocent child that lived it instead of an adult, because that’s the only way to move on from it. The past, in Reality, has already happened. And that means you should deal with it any way that allows you to learn from it, that allows you to become better, that doesn’t harm anyone else with a barbed lie.
As my old erstwhile pirate lord, now a pizza delivery guy, once said, “Never let the truth interfere with a good story.”
You know…I’ve been spending a portion of my time the last few months (even longer?) trying to reconcile the gap between truth and authenticity. For instance, your experience was authentic and real and TRUE, and I would say a God-given outlet during a time when you could have fallen apart, even if it wasn’t BASED on truth. And I think there’s godliness there, holiness, love. And so perhaps, the better way of explaining my feelings about looking at the past is “are we being authentic?”, with authenticity being something that can be expressed a number of ways; authenticity can be “untrue” in a sense, like in your example, and truth can be inauthentic, such as when people evangelize with no real love for people as they do it.
Thank you for sharing, Luminas. As always, you continue to challenge me to think more deeply about what I write and what I think. I’m glad to hear (and see) that you made it through that trying time, though I’m so sorry to hear about your mother and the impact the disease had on your household. My parents are getting older and I know we’ll be going through challenges soon as well. I’m sorry you and your family had to do so when you were still so young. 🙁