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That History Contains Errors Will Not Come As News To A Person Who Has Reflected On The Topic

4138 words - 17 pages

Introduction: -That history contains errors will not come as news to a person who has reflected on the topic. The very first history, a Greek one, History of Herodotus, written around 450 BC, likely had quite a number of fictional details so as to affect its purpose.1 Those parts of our history, which are suspected to be fiction, are, at least, through research and comparison, salvageable. What, however, is possibly more disturbing than the realization that, in general and throughout, our history is wrong (a sub-topic which I shall treat to a greater extent further on, herein) is the realization that there are great gaps in it. We have failed to record and gather together the little human ...view middle of the document...

"While its primary allure is like that of gossip, history is important because it is the story of the collective self, the story of passionate man. Fiction, coming as it does from the imagination of some fellow human being, does not have the same attraction, at least, not for me, simply because it is not true. What I need from my reading is to learn something, and while I shortly will come to listing the lessons of history, the principle lesson is this: that while the ages and the settings change, the actors in history are guided by the same passions of human nature: there is in all histories a similarity. As Emerson wrote in his Essays: "Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a few laws. She hums the old well-known air through innumerable variations."Theories of History: -There is no reason that I can think of that makes it necessary to make history a complicated subject, but strange thinking men have attempted to do just that, to make history into something that it is not; everything from the moving hand of God to that which resembles a living creature, metaphorically moving in a progressive way from stage to stage.The biblical theory can best be briefly dealt with by quoting Leslie Stevenson of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland:"When the Jews fail to obey God's laws, there comes the idea of God using the events of history, such as defeat by neighboring nations, to chastise them for their sin (a theme which recurs throughout the histories and prophets in the Old Testament). And then there is the idea of God's merciful forgiveness, His blotting out of man's transgressions, and His regeneration of man and the whole of creation (Isaiah chapters 43-66)." [Seven Theories of Human Nature (Oxford University Press, 1987) at pp. 48-9.]As the living creature theory: one of the strangest, and, as it turned out, one the most destructive, was the Hegelian theory of history. Hegel was a philosopher and his view was that there are fundamental laws, which drive the development of a culture or a country; that a culture or a country has a kind of a personality of its own, and its development is to be explained in terms of its own character. In later years, a fellow German, Adolph Hitler, rose to this Hegelian bait, and through the Third Reich brought misery to millions of our fellow human beings.Marx picked up on the Hegelian view and asserted that there were fundamental laws, which drove the development of a culture or a country.3 These notions of historical development and of alienation were to play a crucial role in the thoughts of Marx. Marx had a deterministic view that all events (economic stages) come about as a result of the inevitable progress of history.4Well, personally, I do not subscribe to any of these fancy theories. History is but a series of past events of which we have become conscious.5 Each event is a very thin and a very short fiber like that of the countless number, which make up the great rope of humanity. The position of...

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