Only by not forgetting the past can we be the master of the future.

Ba Jin

The work of prolific Chinese writer Ba Jin often took the form of social commentary. His most famous novel, “Jia,” criticized the traditional Chinese family system. His work labeled him a counterrevolutionary during the country’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, and he was ostracized from society. In the early 2000s, Ba Jin called for the creation of an official Cultural Revolution museum to document the impact of the era, believing this would prevent China from repeating past mistakes. (Though a museum did open in 2005, it was covered up by the Chinese authorities less than a decade later.) With this quote, Ba Jin points out that no experience exists in a vacuum. By reflecting on where we’ve been, we can chart the course ahead to steer us in a better direction.