This is my post number 100. As I look back at my previous posts one thing, that seems to be the unifieing theme is historicity. Or even more so, the problems resulting from the lack of historical perspective.

My father taught me, that we cannot understand the present, if we do not understand, or even know the past, that led to where we now stand.

Time to take a look back.

Time to take a look back.

You may be justified in thinking, you do not need to know every detail about the medieval times to understand modern society, but if you hold fundamental misunderstanding of even such a distant past, it might influence seriously and harmfully your world view and even interaction with other people.

For example, if you have the general understanding, that the people of past times were ignorant brutes, you might be inclined to think it was a result of their culture, and that might lead you to percieve your own culture superior to any other cultures past and present. A sort of confirmation bias producing an illusion of superiority. A dangerous misconception of the world.

If you hold a misconception, that the past primitive people in antiquity were simple minded fools, you might come to conclude that a god had to give these ancient simpletons fairytale like stories instead of universal and scientifically verifiable facts. And that might cause you to give credence to an old book as some sort of source for morals even when you yourself can very well by reading them come to the conclusion, that they do not represent a very desirable morals in them.

For a person to aquire a moral standing, it is more important to understand why ancient people believed as they did about morals, than to simply join their vision of it in blind faith.

The world is full of demagogues ready to use the ignorance of people as a tool to lead people for purposes questionable. If a politician tells us, that a nation has no right of independence because they have never before held an indipendent, or legal position among the nations of the world, it is either a terrible misunderstanding of historical legacy of nations, or an incredibly arrogant attempt to lead people astray and segragate an entire nation into a pariah class. An expression of out right imperialism. And you can run into such claims by politicians even today.

Over romanticizing the past is a nother folly. We should be able to recognize the actual weaknesses of the past generations and learn from them. To understand, that though the ancient people were not idiots, they had no way of knowing for example, that natural catastrophies like tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis are not the result of divine wrath from beyond the material universe. Nor did they have any way of even suspecting, that such things as mental illnesses were not the result of spirits, demons, nor anything else supernatural, but the rather a direct result of our human condition as part of the evolution of living organisms. No divine inspiration explained them, that this is not the case, but even today in highly literal civilized nations where all the scientific knowledge and understanding is awailable, we have great number of people unable to grasp the reality of this.

Romanticizing the past may lead us to a path on wich we please ourselves by thinking, that allready our ancestors were the smartest, or most divinely favoured and therefore most moral and superior people. This sort of segragation between the “us” and the rest of humanity leads to terrible deeds. People may start to think they are entiteled to a lot of stuff the “other” people are not. That will lead to the misery of all. Not only those who are regarded as not worthy will suffer, also a lot of those who think themselves of deserving, who have not gotten what they think they are entiteled will be miserable. In addition those who have somehow aquired more than others and think there are historical reasons for them to have more in the future will ultimately suffer, from their own lack of conpassion. And it has, in history, often enough, led to the most terrible violence imaginable.

Do you see my point?

Advertisements