Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Past, Present, Future?

The BBC/science fiction theme continues tonight, with another new series (comedy, this time; and decidedly Geeky), Hyperdrive. But before that on BBC2, the return of Who Do You Think You Are? in which well-known personalities trace their family trees.

What links science fiction and social history is the idea of connectivity: whether of actions or of character traits. Because behind exploring our past is the hope of gaining some insight into ourselves. Which is why genealogy is so important in the Bible, including the records of Jesus' family line in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 - though that importance has largely been lost to his followers since...Genealogies, and family trees, are short-hand representations of blessings and curses outworking themselves - including curses being redeemed - down through the generations. Because, however broken down our society has become, we are (whether we like it or not) fundamentally connected to our relatives - and the rise of the step-family adds extra layers of connection. In the context of family 'nature' and 'nurture' intertwine in shaping us, in an inevitable - though not deterministic or fatalistic - fashion. The Good News is that, though we cannot escape our past, our future does not have to be imprisoned by it.

Who do I think I am? Who do you think you are?