It is hubris to believe that you can simply dispose of the past. Each human being carries their past with them in their brain as patterns of neurons, that have recorded everything that person has experienced, storing the knowledge away for future use. Each of us also carries the legacy of humanity in our DNA, transporting through millions of years the actuality and the potential that is Homo sapiens.
So if we wipe the slate clean, it is only the surface that is cleansed, for all that lies beneath comes with us. As it should be.
It is not enough that we resolve to change who and what we are at the turning of the hour; we must make the effort to make actual change, in ourselves, and the world we see around us. For each orbit of the Earth has seen the same human frailties and failings carried on, has seen death, destruction, and disease travel forward along with hope, courage, and scientific advancement. What does not seem to change with the millennia is human behavior. Humanity still grasps at wealth, power, glory, and territory, even as it leaves many of its members to struggle and suffer in mediocrity, poverty, and want.
The future is unwritten -- it is we, as a species, that will write what is to come. If we are to resolve anything this evening, let it be that we will no longer tolerate the inequities of the past, that we will forge new relationships, and find solutions to common problems. Let us resolve to turn a corner, to bring humanity fully into its Third Millennium, with the goal of laying aside the past, and creating a newer, brighter future. It is time that we take the lessons of the past, and apply them to the progress we make. It is time, to learn from our mistakes and work not to repeat them.
And so, I wish you peace, long life, and ask you, in the coming year, to reevaluate you life and your goals, and to be mindful of the direction of humanity. Together, we can accomplish anything.