Opinion: Complicated history lessons


Our past is a reliable tool in predicting the acts and outcomes of the forthcoming. To be clear, it can only forecast and not guarantee but is still more dependable than most other indicators. If we fail to factor it into our understanding about the present or calculus for the future, we do so at our own peril. Don’t hide from history.

Most of us have come to realize and incorporate what predates us into our thoughts about what is happening now. Preceding our own imperfect parenting, our parents parented us as theirs had done before them and so-on. Where a pigeon now soars above, a pterodactyl may have been a few years earlier. Before this society, there was another. Before that one, another anteceded it. We all, each of us in kind, relate to others in the context of the past, present and future.

With the rise of each unproven, an established is displaced. Time alone determines the sustainability of the newfound or the resurgence of the old. Is there anything new under the sun or have we done it all before? Perhaps this answer, like so many, is lost to the insatiable hunger of history. We search for absolute answers but are often disappointed to only find opinion where fact should dwell.

We have loved some thinkers so much as to name buildings for them to later denounce and rebrand under new paragons. Egyptians of antiquity built monuments of carved stone for beloved leaders only to soon refashion them in the likeness of new gods. Societies are built, and destroyed, upon the very ashes of those that predated them. If so much of our future is built upon the past, who owns “history?” And when is it fact, when is it advocacy, and when is it wishful thinking?


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