But I am... so here we go.
"We may need 'eschatological forgetting.' To forgive is to forget. Augustine, at the end of City of God, says that he will remember certain evils -- the ones he has committed, not the ones he has forgiven others for."
Starting with John Locke, Volf says, the West has defined the self by what one remembers. That has been the stable feature of modernity, that we are what our stories are. This means that memories of evil often organize our lives.
"But is that desirable for a world of perfect love?" Volf asks. "Only those who are willing not to remember certain things can remember themselves into the telos of perfect love." Volf does not use the term "forgetting"; his vision is of a messianic age so ennobled by joy, love and embrace of the neighbor that there will be a "not-coming-to-mind," a leave-taking of worldly memories. This, he suggests, is what is meant by Nehemiah's promise of "the joy of Jerusalem." While that day will come only with Jesus' return, we can, in the meantime, strive to approximate that not-coming-to-mind of memories that would provoke anger or aggravate violence.
Miroslav Volf, speaking of his then work-in-progress, now published as The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2006). From an article by Mark Oppenheimer in The Christian Century, January 11, 2003, pp. 18-23. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation.
I just wrote a paper that seems connected to this. It's about postmodern memory plays at the end of history. In it I look at Martin Shledon's beautiful one-woman play "Rose".
Here's the abstract:
It's interesting stuff. While it seems this book is looking more at Volf's imagined scenario for forgiveness, I am interested in the duality that exists between the past and future. We must construct ourselves from memories of the past, and yet, those same memories must be forgotten if we are to enter the future.
How tightly to do we hold to pain of the past? And how freely do we abandon it to enter the future with a clean slate?