Finding Ourselves in History

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
tommclaughlin
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 4 days ago
Joined: 10/26/2007 - 5:27am
Finding Ourselves in History

To the old aphorism “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” I would like to add: “…and neither does anybody else.” None of our best historians understand all of history. They specialize. They study what happened in a particular time and place. They try to be objective in a Jack Webb-style: “Just the facts, Ma’am,” but that can make for dull reading. So they adopt the writing style of a storyteller. They humanize the main characters, illuminating both virtues and flaws. They make judgements. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t sell many books. If they’re also teachers, and many are, their students would fall asleep.

Like the late star of Dragnet, historians are trying to solve a mystery, but unlike him they’re not going to arrest a perpetrator. They may, however, tarnish a reputation here and burnish one there. Such may be their intent when beginning their research. The best historians try hard to be unbiased, but they know they’re human and will always fall short of perfect impartiality. Others only offer a pretense of impartiality.

Another human factor that may work to distort history I will call peer pressure. When historian colleagues all tend to interpret the events of a particular time and place in a particular way, there’s a strong tendency to go along. One might dare to offer a slightly different shade of meaning but to go further would risk being shunned or even attacked.

The rest is here.

pmconusa
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 23 min ago
Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
It is why history repeats

It is why history repeats itself because the lessons of history are never learned.

Toolsmith
Offline
Last seen: 22 hours 19 min ago
Joined: 07/14/2016 - 11:22am
Even attacked? I think that's

Even attacked? I think that's where it starts these days...

PC. We never should have let it get started. Politically-based social censorship is all it is.

pmconusa
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 23 min ago
Joined: 04/20/2000 - 12:01am
When you have no original

When you have no original ideas or thoughts of your own it is easy to go along with those of others with whom you can agree. Debate cannot find the truth if there is no opposition to lies or falsehoods.

Log in to post comments