SanctiFusion

Life, the Universe, and Everything, from the Outside In

The New Dark Ages

with 5 comments

Two observations about History as taught- as you and I were fed it in school, that is. One, that it is edited, obviously, and, second, that it is deadly boring. Now, Mr. Santayana said once, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” We hear that now and then, usually when the news anchor is trying to make a point for his/her own camp. Example? As much as we hear repeated about Hitler’s atrocities, how much is mentioned about Stalin, Mao, or the present “leaders” in China, the Islamic nations, or other present-day atrocities? Santayana was right, but in more ways than what we generally understand.

Remembering history is more than keeping in mind selected bites from the Evening News. Remembering history means having a clue what we’ve come from, so we can have some idea where we’re going.

One thing about this badly edited, deadly-boring subject that passes as History: The people who are spotlighted are then glossed to the point where all you see is the sheen of the writer’s ink, and nothing of the person him/herself. A lot of “just because.” One phrase I still remember from 7th grade is, “Abraham Lincoln was one of the Nation’s greatest Presidents, even though he was plagued with the great Civil War.” Lovely words- the work of a poet. But what if a student asks, say, how he was “plagued” with a war when he was in command? The Federal armies, understand, were on the offensive, on Southern land, in every battle but Gettysburg, and that was two years into the campaign. If that campaign were a plague to him, would he not have considered Davis’s offers of surrender? (Remember, it took every other American conflict from the Revolution through Viet Nam to approach the loss of life in those four years!)

Not to be selling a partisan pitch, but using that bit of tinder to catch this spark: Historians research history, and find out the details that make up the picture, and they do tend to have opinions which guide what they know or don’t know. Textbook writers make up a gloss from parts of that picture they choose, and package it for boards and committees who generally have little interest in what happened when, or why; and in the end , between Don’t Know and Don’t Care, the students wind up with even less. If we are doomed to repeat the history we have forgotten, then we are headed back to the dark ages: but then, who knows enough history to recognise them?

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Written by Robert Easter

Friday, 15 August, 2008 at 9:58

5 Responses

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  1. “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” We hear that now and then, usually when the news anchor is trying to make a point for his/her own camp. Example? As much as we hear repeated about Hitler’s atrocities, how much is mentioned about Stalin, Mao, or the present “leaders” in China, the Islamic nations, or other present-day atrocities?

    Historically (after a fall which would be pre-history), human nature and the potential for evil has not changed.

    Are you going to link satire and theology? I have you linked…crocodile tears.:(

    Your article image reminds me of a cheesy metal album, but is effective.

    Very good, Sir Robert.

    satire and theology

    Saturday, 16 August, 2008 at 12:59

  2. Thanks, and thanks for the reminder, Russ! And, sorry! I forgot, but it’s there now.

    Folks, take a look at Kingpin’s other side” for a highly-edumacated alternative viewpoint on everything from spam mails to the Georgian (Not Atlanta this time!) conflict, to Supralapsarianism. And, above all, be sanctifused!

    Robert

    Saturday, 16 August, 2008 at 13:15

  3. Thanks man! I certainly have views in line with Supralapsarianism, but due to the serious problem of vicious regress (see thekingpin68 article via search) I do not believe that God wills things in sequence (any type of time) prior to the existence of time as we now know it. God simply has infinite knowledge and wills.

    thekingpin68

    Saturday, 16 August, 2008 at 15:03

  4. Er, on second thought, let’s not go to Supralapsarianism. It’s a silly place! ūüėÄ

    Robert

    Saturday, 16 August, 2008 at 16:22

  5. *****

    I rated you.

    satire and theology

    Sunday, 17 August, 2008 at 15:11


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