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Thread: What is the signifigance of HISTORY?

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Cool What is the signifigance of HISTORY?

    Why do we learn, analyze and discover pieces of history? What is it's impact on modern day? What is the appeal? I have researched a few quotes to get the ideas rolling.

    History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.


    The lessons of the past are ignored and obliterated into a contemporary antagonism known as the generation gap.

    History never repeats itself ,as most people fear. People usually repeat history.

    The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

    We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.

    Modern men are afraid of the past. It is a record of human achievement, but its other face is human defeat.

    History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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    Hm..just some thoughts:

    Have you read 1984? There, Winston lives in a world where history is mutable. Records are erased on a daily basis to cast a good light on "Big Brother", who is always right and who never fails in his prophecies of the future. In a world where there is no reliable source of history, Winston has only his memories of the past to guide him into the future. History in this case plays a role in showing him that the world has changed. He knows that there wasn't always a shortage of basic necessities, and that the world, previously, never had a succession of wars. In this sense, you could say that from history, we learn what mankind did that was successful and try to create and improve upon such situations. Likewise, it is supposed to allow us the chance to avoid taking the same shaky steps as our predecessors who have wreaked havoc or misery upon others. We do so in order to avoid the scenario where "people usually repeat history" (I assume history here is used in the sense of shortfalls and misery such as warfare rather than happy tales of the past).

    As to why we are constantly learning and discovering as well as analyzing history, I think it is both because we'd like to make progress in terms of science (evolution), and because we'd like to uncover new works of literature that will unlock doors to the cultures of the past. This has an impact on modern day since it revitalizes lost identities. For example, the Cultural Revolution in China saw the massive burning of books and works of art: "men are afraid of the past. It is a record of human achievement, but its other face is human defeat". The need to "purify" their people is a good illustration of this concept.

    Today, we see China not only regretting their actions, but trying to uncover any traces that may have been left from the destruction. Their deliberate deletion of history has caused them much grief. A lot of this has also got to do with the pride of being who you are - your identity - and what your country/nation/culture has accomplished.

    Digging into the past is a form of knowledge that adds to our understanding of what we should avoid, and what we shouldn't do. It is only a guide, though. An interesting thing to note is that it does not tell us what we should do.
    I thought what Id do was, Id pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldnt have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody.

    - Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye


    Je ne pense pas donc je suis.

    P.S. Discussion on 1984 - Share your thoughts, please?
    online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21159

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silv View Post
    Hm..just some thoughts:

    Have you read 1984? There, Winston lives in a world where history is mutable. Records are erased on a daily basis to cast a good light on "Big Brother", who is always right and who never fails in his prophecies of the future. In a world where there is no reliable source of history, Winston has only his memories of the past to guide him into the future. History in this case plays a role in showing him that the world has changed. He knows that there wasn't always a shortage of basic necessities, and that the world, previously, never had a succession of wars. In this sense, you could say that from history, we learn what mankind did that was successful and try to create and improve upon such situations. Likewise, it is supposed to allow us the chance to avoid taking the same shaky steps as our predecessors who have wreaked havoc or misery upon others. We do so in order to avoid the scenario where "people usually repeat history" (I assume history here is used in the sense of shortfalls and misery such as warfare rather than happy tales of the past).

    As to why we are constantly learning and discovering as well as analyzing history, I think it is both because we'd like to make progress in terms of science (evolution), and because we'd like to uncover new works of literature that will unlock doors to the cultures of the past. This has an impact on modern day since it revitalizes lost identities. For example, the Cultural Revolution in China saw the massive burning of books and works of art: "men are afraid of the past. It is a record of human achievement, but its other face is human defeat". The need to "purify" their people is a good illustration of this concept.

    Today, we see China not only regretting their actions, but trying to uncover any traces that may have been left from the destruction. Their deliberate deletion of history has caused them much grief. A lot of this has also got to do with the pride of being who you are - your identity - and what your country/nation/culture has accomplished.

    Digging into the past is a form of knowledge that adds to our understanding of what we should avoid, and what we shouldn't do. It is only a guide, though. An interesting thing to note is that it does not tell us what we should do.
    Some very good points there Silv(nice to meet you by the way, you seem like a very wise person). Yes, i have read 1984 and think its an excellent example of the importance and power that comes from studying and recording history. I especially liked how the idea of history being flexible in terms of facts and truth to ones own opinion. I disagree with this but at the same time find it somewhat true in society. Facts are presented to us, and then taken into consideration and interpretation by millions of people. They are bent, embellished with bias, manipulated..yet still believed in all the contradictory forms they are presented in but at least one person. We can also think, what is history? Is it a series of facts only distorted by people later on, or is it a collection of each individual's perceptions and beliefs molded into one understanding?
    There are hundreds of examples of repeating mistakes of the past even with an agknowledgement of history. Maybe history is to serve as a reminder that some habits, despite the scientific progress you mentioned, are a permenant stain on the human condition. We can not purely learn from the mistakes of the past, in order to take a lesson to heart we must learn it directly. i guess in a way this is also support of how the past doesnt serve as a direct guide as to how life should be lived and run. I personally like history, because it keeps humans from getting to full of themselves. I believe at one point we all take on an anthropocentric attitude in some way, and history serves as a reminder that we are not the be all and end all of wisdom and accomplishment. We have achieved some of the greatest things known the the earth, but we have also corrupted and destroyed equally great things.
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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    Fingertips of Fury B-Mental's Avatar
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    Isn't there a quote that "the victors write history"...Ohhh, and then you gotta pick up some Howard Zinn... a bit of "social" history does you well.
    "I am glad to learn my friend that you had not yet submitted yourself to any of the mouldy laws of Literature."
    -John Muir


    "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light"
    -Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reccomendation! Social history is by far my favorite kind, nothing stronger then words from the people themselves.

    The victors write history...very interesting indeed. Taking my thoughts on how modern day interpretations of history vary, and applying the same bias expression of facts to the primary writers and tellers of them. definetly something to put into consideration..i will think more on it tomorrow. I'm getting sleepy and sloppy in my arguments....
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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    Fingertips of Fury B-Mental's Avatar
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    I hope you sleep historically. I thought about that quote for a long time... I do believe it applies to recent histories, but is much less sound on ancient times, or medieval, etc....
    "I am glad to learn my friend that you had not yet submitted yourself to any of the mouldy laws of Literature."
    -John Muir


    "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light"
    -Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B-Mental View Post
    Isn't there a quote that "the victors write history"...Ohhh, and then you gotta pick up some Howard Zinn... a bit of "social" history does you well.
    Perhaps more official documentation of history, particulary when it comes to war and conflict, is rather bias to those who want to preserve a victorious image of themselves for future generations. Yet history doesnt only live in the textbooks, but in art forms and literature written at the time. From a social, general perspective we are more realistically informed of conflicts.
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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    Cur etiam hic es? Redzeppelin's Avatar
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    Regardless of who writes it, we still need it. Human beings are notorious for their inability to assess a situation whilst in the midst of it. We're really good, sometimes, at hindsight - and history allows us to exercise our hindsight. History is kind of like a collective memory; now, think where you'd be if your memory erased every night (there was a movie done on this I think several years ago) - you'd have to relearn all kinds of things. Memory is what allows us to develop. I think History functions in much the same way. Through shared memory (inaccurate as all memory and all history is) we gain hindsight that allows us to develop and change in positive directions (one would hope).
    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis

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    Beautant Lily Adams's Avatar
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    This is pointless to say because the question has already been answered, but ah well.

    So we don't make the same dumb mistakes. (Look at Hitler when he invaded Russia. Ha. Didn't read his Napoleonic history.) The more we know about the past, we can predict and prevent in the future.

    It's the story of the human race! That's kind of weird to learn about everything else except where we came from.

    And, most importantly, it's there for Lily Adams to fangirl over.
    Last edited by Lily Adams; 12-27-2006 at 01:14 AM.

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    History does make for some nice entertainment and escape,Ill have to agree with you there Lily. Congrats on going past 100 posts by the way!
    I guess to see history for a lighter view, when educating us it also provides entertainment purposes. All the myths, jokes, references around history in modern day take up a good chunk of the media and other forms of entertainment. We constantly make movies set in the past. I guess vicarious experiences dont take a make believe world neccesarily, just the history channel and a decent imagination
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Oh, and also Miss Lily, never think that anything idea or contribution to a discussion is "pointless". There is no one answer or way to say something when discussion topics like this and every person in the world has a unique and useful contribution to be made
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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    Away and away.. Laindessiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramasnot6 View Post
    Facts are presented to us, and then taken into consideration and interpretation by millions of people. They are bent, embellished with bias, manipulated..yet still believed in all the contradictory forms they are presented in but at least one person. .
    Exactly how my signature explains it. We're tired. We want truth. But in order for you to get it, you must make your move. Now.

    We can also think, what is history? Is it a series of facts only distorted by people later on, or is it a collection of each individual's perceptions and beliefs molded into one understanding?
    We can not purely learn from the mistakes of the past, in order to take a lesson to heart we must learn it directly.
    This is what I've learned from the experiences life has brought us. Things and lessons are presented to you in a way that it was somehow painted with others' distorted ideas and perceptions that you would (sometimes) disagree upon upon learning what the lessons truly are and how they were conceived. I believe that it should be YOUR feet, your HEART and YOUR soul to be risked out there in the cold in order for those lessons to be bequeathed straight to your heart; and then, and ONLY then will you understand and give full compliance to what has been termed as a "lesson". Jaundiced opinions are never considered opinions once inflicted with others' beliefs. It must be YOUR own understanding of things, the pure use of your head, that will give meaning and depth to the lessons you've learned.

    Nice thread, Drame.
    "You have enemies? Good. That means youve stood up for something, sometime in your life."


    To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's" - Dostoevksy

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    A human form Divine Poetess's Avatar
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    Hey Drama, nice one.

    I also support it "we learn from our mistakes"
    We do analyze and study out history so that we know our background, we know the mistakes that put us in valuable situations, interpret the pattern of ancient lives..

    It also shows you the reason of your current country`s situation.
    I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death. - Robert Fulghum
    Je Chante Une Chanson Sombre
    The Lady of Mine - Opinion please
    A tragedy crept to the name Bathory

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    Registered User ghideon's Avatar
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    Talking some thoughts on history vs fiction

    Hey Lain(if I can call you that for short?) I love what you wrote about the importance of heart and soul. Important to say and well said.

    History is is a narrative. Historians tell us "He did this, she did that, this is what was going on at the time when these folks were living. A President, a Senator, a war...Ms X told Mr Y to do ABC and 1,000 died"

    History is non-fiction. That is what we have been told. Fiction is "something invented by the imagination." And then there is non-fiction, the facts(I am reminded of Hard Days by Dickens "facts, facts, nothing but facts..." or something like that). Anyway, the truth is not quite as easy as the above fiction/non-fiction divison would suggest. At least when I think about it.

    Whatever history one reads, and I for one do not read enough of it, "fiction" is just as vital. I think that is why so many people like documentary history(a genre that lies somewhere in the middle)...the words of the "ordinary" people and their stories and tales and thoughts. It touches me in places where traditional ways of presenting history do not. (I have also recently been on a bit of a campaign against the word "ordinary" so often used to describe thosewho are not famous. Who is actually "ordinary" once you spend more then an hour with them.)

    Fiction seems more upfront. This is a creation, fiction states. History, though stands up...a Greek God and speaks in a sonorous voice proclaiming "This is what happened. This is true." As I sit here bed unmade, books scattered, dried up tea bag under my window and an empty coffee cup(which I guess now has no real reason to be--poor thing)atop my kitchen counter...I really want that Greek God...Historayeus...to tell me truths and facts. Yes facts. I want some assurance about the ways of the world. And while this Immortal Being called History does tell me facts and facts that are most important to know I do not want to get too close...I suppose history can draw me in and serve as an escape as easily as the words of Sir Tolkien did with his Hobbits and beasts. The insecurity I feel stops me from doubting and the older I get the more important doubting has become.

    I just finished reading a wonderful little book called The Power Of Mindful Learning...five stars at least.
    For now I will simply quote one of the last sentences:
    "How can I know if I do not ask? Why will I ask if I believe I already know." It still blows me away.


    One example of how the power of language and authorial power can be both a wonder and a warning is Whitman.

    I read a fascinating critique of Whitman that suggested his intoxicating voice that could hold a blade of grass, a dying soldier and the concept of Democracy all at the same time and speak of this universe with such beauty...this strength could be a danger. He becomes almost God like in his grand reach. Everything finite and infinite is absorbed and given back but such power verges on despotic. One can imagine a head of state believing that he too has the heavens,hell and earth all at his disposal...that he can represent all and that all reflects him and that, this king thinks "makes me extraordinary and the one who should lead all other mortals who are lesser then."

    Ohhh...I have once again strayed from home. The discussion is about History and I am talking Walt. But although I may have strayed I am not, I hope, so far from the topic as to be deemed irrelevant and sentenced to wear a scarlet I for the rest of my life.
    "Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
    Can else inflict, do I repent or change"


    Milton, Paradise Lost
    Book 1 Line 95-96

    "There is only one plot-things are not as they seem."
    Jim Thompson

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    Beautant Lily Adams's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Yes, history is great entertainment, my mom likes HGTV better and finds that "relaxing", and she doesn't like the history channel as much because she doesn't like a the head-cutting off and invading stuff. Her loss. I LOVE "Worst Jobs in History". Great show.

    Ah, alright, I will remeber what you said about contributions, thank you!


    It also shows you the reason of your current country`s situation.
    YES.

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