"Memories are not just something from the past.
"They determine our future.'
The straight roads, the functional homes, the practical working environment and even the uniform clothing: everything looks very orderly, clean and structured. Well, perfect, actually. Everyone looks calm, civilized, decisive and decent. There is no more struggle, no more inequality, no more war, no more poverty, no more pollution. Everything is guided in the right direction, everything and everyone knows and has their role. There is no longer an individual, only a collective. Birth and Death do not exist, only a form of chemical entry and exit. Pain and suffering have been erased from the sensory spectrum. Sadness and anger still exist, but on a small scale. The same goes for euphoria, bliss and infatuation: such deep emotions are only something from the distant past and superficial versions remain. In the current vocabulary, respect, appreciation, harmony and admiration are the main themes, and a word such as 'love' is immediately embarrassedly corrected and nuanced. Children are no longer conceived in an act of love, but grown in laboratories, where their qualities are chemically refined and the perfect specimens obtain their right to exist. After which they are allocated to the families in which they are at their best, so that they can develop into the unique wheel that they are in the oiled machine. Physical affection is no longer exchanged, at most a practical nudge or a tap on the shoulder. It is no longer about the happiness and the deepening of the individual but about the contribution to a harmonious community, a perfect society. Everything and everybody is there to serve. The residents seem to experience satisfaction and peacefullness and are happy with the usefulness and function of their orderly existence.
Every day they administer a drug to themselves just before they go to work. This maintains the peace and harmony and prevents disturbance. During the course of a lifetime, various ceremonies take place in front of everyone in society. For example, when babies are allocated to their caretakers, when young people are given their permanent position in society and when someone is 'let go', they are given thanks and are remembered. However, there is one person who is assigned a unique role, as this one displays a combination of five abilities.
5. The gift of being able to be able to see beyond.
This person will perform the task of Guardian of the Original Memories of Humanity. A very responsible task; as a kind of living database with an advisory function towards the Council of the Elders, which governs society. The transmission of these Original Memories does not take place by means of advanced technology or by means of a chemical intervention in a laboratory, but from Human to Human. By being together and physically connecting to each other. Out of sight of society. This transmission is done by the Giver, the current guardian of the Original Memories. An old man who lives on the edge of society in an old wooden house. In the house the many cupboards bulge with books, like an immense library. There are also some forgotten musical instruments to be found. The large glass back wall of the house overlooks the bare plains outside the control area of this community, where in the distance a single real tree can still be distinguished. Far out of sight is the boundary of this preconceived oblivion, of this orchestrated modesty. When this limit is crossed by the Guardian, all memories will become available to everyone again. All residents will be flooded again by the forgotten memories and all the accompanying emotions. Like a tsunami. This border is forbidden area and is meticulously guarded, with cameras and drones.
In the Giver's house the transmission begins and memories of the erased, original emotional spectrum of Humanity are reloaded. From that which is lived, felt and experienced. Very steady and slowly, to avoid overload and possible shock. For the spectrum varies from blissful emotions such as love and wonder to raw emotions such as shame, depression and revenge. When the Giver grasps both arms of the Guardian and the Guardian closes his/her eyes, the Guardian is overwhelmed by a wave of images and experiences. Reloaded on a cellular level. About, among other things, the power of Nature, of the human body and the Original history of Humanity. Feelings of both creation and destruction. Memories of extinct animal species, wiped out by man, devastated nature reserves and populations slaughtered in war. But also the physical sensations of lust, pleasure, finding true love, the birth of a baby and starting a family. Being together with family and friends, growing your own food, cooking together, creating together, playing and having fun. Days pass and the Guardian slowly wakes up from his general anaesthetic, from his colorless existence, from his sleep mode and realizes that the daily medicine he has to administer to himself is not meant for his health but rather as a means to maintain this sleep mode. To prevent him from waking up. To keep the peace, the harmony and the current status quo. Colour gradually returns in his life; he regains his liveliness, playfulness, wonder and curiosity and has no choice but to share it with others. Risking his own life because it is forbidden to talk about the memories.
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