January 1, 2014

Auld Lang Syne

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the song Auld Lang Syne is that it is still within popular culture even though we have no idea what it mean. Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem from the dawn of Modern English, which is why we can understand most of it, but not all of it. The actually title literally says, "Old Long Since" which means "long long ago" or "the old days". Harry's misunderstanding in the video above is merely mistaking a question for a statement. The song goes:
Should old acquaintance be forgot and never be brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot and the days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne my dear,
For auld lang syne
We'll take the cup of kindness yet
for auld lang syne
Simply put: "Should we forget about the old days? Cheers! Cheers to the old days!"

It is a beautiful sentiment about the importance of memory, and knowing where it is we come from. The older we are, the more the past is recognized as important. And by that, I don't just mean our own past, but the days of history. Appreciating where a thing come from grounds our understanding of what a thing is better then perhaps any other form of analysis. Perhaps this is why the ultimate question of origin seems to important to us, but I digress.

This year, perhaps more so than any year before, I feel a need to look back. I feel a need to understand what has brought me to this point in my life so that I can appreciate both where I am, and where I am going. And so the words Auld Lang Syne hit closer to my heart than they have in the days old long since, and perhaps that more so than anything else tells me exactly where it is I am.

To the good old days my friends! To the good old days!