Notes on the German word “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”

Do you think this is true?
  • Vergangenheitsbewältigung = “dealing with your past so that you can overcome your trauma”
  • Vergangenheit = past vergangen = it has been gone gangen = past of to go [gehen]
  • -heit = noun-indicator
  • Bewältigung = an overcoming by one’s own powers, a process of turning something aroundbewältigen = to overcome
  • also compare “Gewalt” = violence


I sometimes feel that I still try to understand the history of philosophy that has arrived within me with me in this world. I try to understand how philosophy could have arrived through centuries of thoughts in my thought. It is not pure thinking but thinking that is veiled in a mountain of language. Language that that was genetically and historically installed or codified in me. It is like an ancient riddle that is written in a mixture of hieroglyphs and alien signs. It is like me being a transcript or a piece of paper for someone’s or something’s message. Moreover, then all of it might be just a joke in the nothing. Given the possibility of nothing, understanding my past feels sometimes arbitrary. Shouldn’t the future matter more than the past?

Nevertheless, we think of the future like we think of the past. It is a special kind of memory, a picture with a different algebraic sign but still a picture like the past. The future I think of is like my past in this sense: If I already don’t understand my past, how could I understand my future?

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