On the use, abuse and non-use of history…

I do a climate histories site (All Our Yesterdays) and so clearly I believe there is value and wisdom in reflecting actively on what has happened before. Not in a cheerlead-y “weren’t we right? Aren’t we still right, still great” kind of way (though I suppose you need some of that for morale maintenance?).

I think if you have a decent stock of historical knowledge it can help you see some patterns (obvs you can see the wrong pattern, be weighted down by too much and wrong knowledge – fighting the last war, thinking the guys with the box-cutters want to land the plane and negotiate).

However, there are plenty people who are going to use history like a drunk man uses a lamp post – for support rather than illumination.

Or for consolation – just to reminisce about we were younger and fitter and of course we were all excellent then.

And I guess, if you’re not a natural born thinker, who wants or indeed needs to reflect then you were probably not reflecting at the time

Well, if you could reflect at the time you probably have continued to reflect. If you didn’t reflect at the time, then I suppose this might help to do so.

But probably won’t. Carpe them diems.

One thought on “On the use, abuse and non-use of history…

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  1. History is of vital importance ln improving our future, sadly, many of us have short, very short memories. The lead up to the ‘conflict’ in the Ukraine is reminiscent of the ‘ Cuban crisis’ in the sixties.

    When it comes to environmental degradation (climate change), history is totally ignored!! All the time we allow others to think for us, while ignoring our gut feelings and documented history, nothing will change for the better.

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