STANDING ON THE ACHING SHOULDERS OF THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong

Don’t you absolutely love pithy quotes? They always get me thinking either because I agree with it, or because I don’t.

Today I went wandering down the mental pathways of history because someone repeated something I’ve heard a million times before, the ubiquitous quote everyone has heard and at which, we automatically nod in agreement. Everyone says it, so it has to be true, doesn’t it?

Everything that is happening or will ever happen, has happened before. That most people don’t remember and have never read any history is sad. Yet I have come to believe that ignorance of history has little bearing on what we (collectively) do.

I love history. I want other people to love it as much as I do, if for no better reason than to give me more people to talk to who share my passion. As a history buff, I want to believe if people knew history, they would not repeat the same bad behavior, make the same errors as we’ve made in the past.

That’s wishful thinking. We think a lack of knowledge is the root of the evil but there are other reasons. The biggest one? Ego.

Hitler (for example) wanted to be Charlemagne or Napoleon. He knew history. He was not unaware or unread. He wanted to rewrite history, stand on its shoulders and laugh at the past.

Lack of awareness or failure to remember is a symptom, not the problem.

It’s our human determination to prove history wrong which is so destructive. More to the point, we — humankind — want to prove we are above or outside history, not subject to its rules. This stubbornness is at the core of many of the most monstrous, terrible things we do. We keep trying to prove we aren’t subject to the same forces that have directed the past.

Not remembering history does not condemn us to repeat it. Refusing to accept the outcome of history because we want what we want — usually in combination with greed and a lust for power — that is what condemns us.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

10 thoughts on “STANDING ON THE ACHING SHOULDERS OF THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Overall, I agree with this. Although, I think we have some working in our government right now who really don’t remember or never even knew about the history of the world or our country.

    Like

    1. Their ignorance is part of the problem. If they cared about the country, they would know its story. ANY immigrant has to pass a test to become a citizen. Our congressional reps should know at least as much as a new immigrant.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately our fearless leader seems to have no interest in history and operates in only the here and no. No past or future to divert him from his short term desires for wealth, fame, and adulation.

    Like

    1. I have given up trying to figure out what he has on his mind, or if he has a mind or if he’s just being cagey and pretending stupidity when something else is happening. All I know is that I really HATE it and I want it to stop.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It frightens me to think our governments and their leaders have so much power to make devastating decisions that will result in a history I pray will never happen.
    Leslie

    Like

Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.