BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MESA ARIZONA — History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought. — Etienne Gilson.
History. That is what I have been absorbed in this last week. The history of our nation, our culture, our humanity. I am beginning to understand the danger of education.
What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles. — George Wilhelm Hegel
As the number of years I’ve lived continue to accumulate, I understand this more and more. As the duration of our past outgrows our probable future, we become absorbed in our temporal experiences and become more complacent to the lessons of history. I would like to think that, if we had spent any significant amount of time reading, learning and pondering in our youth the past events of others, it would have made a difference. We would recognize how ridiculous we all can be and, at the same time, recognize how significant we all could be. It all seems so understandable. It all seems so clear. Avoiding the wisdom of history seems so…stupid.
Now, I fear our history has been and is being “photoshopped.” People read scholarly books less and less. Searching the internet provides quick answers, but cutting and pasting does not equate to absorbing and understanding. Thought and discussion is postponed if not avoided all together to prevent contention and discord. Today we miss the deep understanding and genuine feeling of what occurred. The lessons of the past should be preserved not erased. They should not be abbreviated or re-written with subliminal messages that reflect a contemporary or (even worse) a politicized idea of reality.
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. —Robert F. Kennedy