Why History is Far More Important Than We Think

A brief note on arrogance and self-absorbsion as it relates to humanity.  I could be spending these few moments I have before my son’s next baseball play-off game (they play everyday until they either lose or win it all; they are honestly, beyond the blind partisan filter of parenthood, pretty damn good) working on the era of Bismark and his 2nd Reich, but I only work on those on the desktop.  This is a phone comment, more like a Twitter rebuke than a serious session towards understanding.


So what am I getting at?  How is it possible that no matter what happens, about whatever formerly occurred, we continue to make it about ourselves?  We need the perspective of unbiased history, something we will never have so long as we continue to believe we can remedy or recreate the past.  We are all meant to be better, to have learned from our mistakes, and the fact that history retains our bloodiest sins is perhaps what is most of value.  And yet we continue to change, to edit and revise what was in order to define who we think we are today.  This corruption of the past creates an angry present always at war over what may or may not have been.


Quit revising history.  We can never escape our past.  Remember those scarring, humiliating moments from childhood?  Can you wish them all away?  Can you believe that these incidents never happened, or reinvent them to suit the fiction that has grown into your personal narrative?  We must all sometimes wallow in our shame.  This is the importance of humility, of the bonds of sympathy and empathy for all the other crimes and mistakes people have ever made.


We must always remember our history.  If not, then the fantasy world we each create for ourselves will inevitably have a dimensional crash like a string-theory apocalypse, as fiction clashes with fiction and the only victim that matters winds up being the truth.

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