Thursday, November 10, 2011

Everybody's got a world view and their take on history is coloured by it

Much of the history we learn from textbooks in school represents the worldview of the authors of those textbooks. And much of the way history is taught in schools represents the worldview of the teachers who deliver the lessons, and the governments that fund these schools.

Human beings are hardwired to find patterns where there is none. But history, contrary to popular belief, does not have a pattern. Those historical patterns "historians" claim to "discover" and stake their careers on are all in their heads. As we keep finding out, history always surprises us.

We may forecast out five years, ten years even. And then a single cataclysmic weather or geological disturbance -- or panicked selling frenzy in the financial markets -- makes all that "insight" on the future look idiotic.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Famous last words.

1 comment:

  1. I think Howard Zinn must have been among the grand masters of this craft.


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