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History in a Broader Context
Miles Seeley raises an important point:
Your message about history prompts me to wonder about current, not historical trends. It seems to me that we are going through a period of such intense technological change that we are hard pressed to evaluate it. I subscribe to the belief that the internet is changing a lot of things, and nobody quite knows where it is heading and what all the implications are. The Chinese curse that goes something like, "May you live in interesting times," may apply. Personally, I find it interesting and even exciting, but then I felt the same way about the Cold War times.
My comment: I agree entirely. I grew up in a society in which it was considered unscholarly to discuss the present, since we have insufficient data and are blinded by passion. Hence the disdain for journalists. However, we must live and make decisions in these times, so our focus should be on the present. Disagreements like those among WAISers are beneficial. We must also study the past and the future. Futurology will make us think about possibilities, whereas history strives for certainties.
The problem with history is that there still is no agreement. Kevin Phillips has pointed out hat historians still argue passionately about the English Civil War. An explosive issue is the conflict among national versions of history, as encapsulated in textbooks. International commissions of historians seem to have achieved little and to have faded away. I hope to get hold of Cuban history textbooks.
Ronald Hilton - 2/7/00