In the last post, I spoke about negative consequences (and misunderstood realities) when conditioning provides an incomplete picture of Canada’s bi-cultural and bilingual reality – within the realms of Canada’s two dominant societies: Francophones and Anglophones.
In this post (and the next few posts), we will look at the “modern” historical context which has played a major role in shaping much of our current conditioning.
There are a number of events in recent history which have shaped our national psyche, which in turn has given rise to a certain “conditioning set”, and thus affects how Francophones and Anglophones view each other (or do not view each other).
For lack of a better term, bluntly stated, this has led to numerous “mental blocks” within Canada’s Two Solitudes. Such mental blocks provide momentum for a viscous circle, and the continuation of the Two Solitudes.
What in Canada’s recent history “triggered” such mental blocks?
We can re-word the question to ask :
- “In the past 50 years, what happened to “condition” Canada’s Francophone and Anglophone societies to act in a manner which continues to perpetuate the notion of the Two Solitudes?”
Canada’s history can be divided into major periods:
- Canada’s “earlier” history and
- Canada’s “modern” history.
What distinguishes these two histories is that the witnesses, players and decision makers from Canada’s “earlier” history are mostly gone, or will soon pass away. The witnesses, players and decisions makers in Canada’s “modern” history are often still alive or can still be remembered, and are sometimes still in a position to be able to influence the outcome of the future.
It is a natural emotional response that human beings accord value to “pride and honour”. Thus it is no surprise that so many people around the globe accord more weight to “earlier” history than they do to “modern” history (that is why we see wars and agendas being fought today on the basis of events which occurred many generations or even centuries ago).
Yet, I have always believed that such weight tends to be misplaced. We cannot hold people accountable for the actions of past generations. Past generations lived in a different value system, and frankly in a very different culture (to the extent that people of past eras would be from a completely different planet if they were to be compared to modern generations). That is why I shake my head when I hear arguments for sovereignty based on past events such as 1914 conscription, the consequences of the patriot riots in the 1800s, or school abolition acts in the 1930s.
The way I reconcile such issues is by asking myself the following two questions:
- Would those events be promoted, valued, or exacerbated in our modern society if someone were to attempt to re-create them today?, and
- If not, are steps being taken today, at a societal level, to correct mistakes of the past (to the extent that they can be corrected within existing mechanisms and in a modern context)?
As events in and of themselves, Canada’s “earlier” history should be left to history, rather than to the whims of emotional response.
The “modern” history equation:
Owing to the illogical nature of granting greater weight to earlier history than to modern history, we can and should place greater emphasis on our “modern” history. Yet, there are also dangers in according too much weight to modern history as well. Modern history is not immune to mistakes or events stemming from misunderstandings. But modern history affords us the luxury of making corrections to the mistakes of the the recent past before they become etched in society’s collective consciousness.
Our “modern” history is a tale of so many nuances. Thus, we should view it as many shades of grey, rather than as black and white.
In the most general of terms, more hardcore elements of Québec’s sovereignist movement unfortunately tend to view our modern history as black and white, as do certain entrenched aspects of Canada’s unilingual Anglophone political establishment, headed by certain unilingual Anglophone politicians and community leaders.
For the purposes of this series on conditioning, I will define Canada’s modern history as the period in which many witnesses are still alive, and in which major changes occurred which gave rise to most of our modern value sets. Therefore, we can say that Canada’s modern history began roughly around the mid-1960s.
View it this way… prior to the mid-1960’s, people lived within a very different value set. Thus, for the purposes of the next few posts, let us wipe the slate clean from anything prior to 1965, and let’s start to look at things from that point on.
Viewed in this manner, we can say that the first major national Anglophone / Francophone event after 1965 would also be the first major event in the modern story of the Two Solitudes – the point which set the tone for later events.
In the next post I will discuss what I believe is this first major event in the modern story of the Two Solitudes… The Estates-General of French Canada (les États généraux du Canada français).
SERIES: HOW THE PRESENTATION OF EVENTS IN MODERN HISTORY WHICH HAVE CONDITIONED US ALL REGARDING HOW WE VIEW OUR PLACE IN CANADA (13 POSTS)
- Conditioning: A contributing factor in the notion of the Two Solitudes – Introduction (#275) Part 1 of 13
- Conditioning: And its affect on our cultural cohesiveness and national psyche (#276) Part 2 of 13
- Conditioning: The importance of gestures (#277) Part 3 of 13
- Conditioning: In the context of Canada’s “modern” history (#278) Part 4 of 13
- Conditioning: The goal of the “Estates General of French Canada” (#279) Part 5 of 13
- Conditioning: Modern Canada’s “First” Night of the Long Knives – a trigger for the all the rest (#280) Part 6 of 13
- Conditioning: What happened after the Estates General? (#281) Part 7 of 13
- Conditioning: From the 1980 referendum until present (#282) Part 8 of 13
- Conditioning: Wrapping up history and moving into the “now” (#283) Part 9 of 13
- Conditioning: Daily examples of “an Incomplete Picture” – post A (#284) Part 10 of 13
- Conditioning: A few words regarding the death of Jacques Parizeau (#285) Part 11 of 13
- Conditioning: Daily examples of “an Incomplete Picture” – post B (#284) Part 12 of 13
- Conditioning: Daily examples of “an Incomplete Picture” – post C – Closing post (#287) Part 13 of 13