Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I've often heard that phrase "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." However it has occurred to me that if you were to look at human history randomly I'm not sure what exactly you would learn. Athiests for example believe that the Church suppressed science and technology out of some fear of the truth. Protestants (in some circles) likewise believe that the Church suppressed the "True Faith." Even a cursory glance at history would reveal these to be laughable, but nonetheless these ideas continue to thrive in our so-called "advanced society". Present evidence to these views, such as Issac Newton being a Catholic monk(apparently this is not the case, though Newton's belief in God is without question his full beliefs are more colorful than that), the university was originally a Catholic invention, or the founder of modern geology was a Jesuit, and such evidence is dismissed with a wave of the hand.

What I find interesting is this idea of "versions" of history. History by nature implies a judgement call. Like any other form of information we must decide what is important enough to warrant our attention. But if we do that, we may miss the "lessons" history is actually trying to teach us. But then again such an idea assumes that history is some kind of teacher, that we can actually glean truth about mankind from seemingly unrelated and chaotic events. So which is it? Are we learning from history? Or are we imposing our view of the world on the events of history to create a "narrative" to support our own framework?

It is an interesting riddle to solve, even more so now because our access to information grows exponentially everyday. How does one evaluate and filter information? Is modern man even capable of evaluating information that does not meet preconceived notions as worthwhile? In order to answer this question in my opinion we must ask a more fundamental question. What are we trying to accomplish in the first place?

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