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ColonelMac1775
Copperas Cove
TX USA
Posts: 85
Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/27/2018 7:00:56 AM

In 1955, the Texas legislature added a section to the Education Code requiring that students seeking a degree from a state-funded college or university must take 6 hours of American History and 6 hours of Government as part of the general education “core”. The teaching of no other discipline enjoys the status of actually being embedded in state law. In America, rationale for the study of history includes the proviso that such study is “essential for good citizenship in a democracy”. Every time there is any discussion of even slightly modifying the History curriculum, one hears this stated as something of an article of faith, referring to the actions of the legislature in 1955, as if those serving at that time were somehow endowed with a wisdom that others did not possess.

In actuality, that action in 1955 was a knee-jerk reaction to the Communist scare of what we now call the “McCarthy Era” in America. Apparently, it was believed that Texas students needed to be inoculated against the possible contamination of Communist ideology and that one way to accomplish this was to ensure they were indoctrinated with the American “creed”.

Both England and Germany are democracies. But, in a search of the reasons cited for studying history at the University of London and Humboldt University of Berlin, one does not find this citizenship essentiality. From whence comes this almost dogmatic, American insistence that one cannot be a “good” or “effective” citizen unless they’ve studied history in general, and American History in particular, in the public schools and in college?

Prior to the late 19th century, history wasn’t a subject of study as we know it today. As it was becoming established as a discrete, educational discipline, a number of factors played a significant role in justifications for its inclusion in the curriculum and how it would be taught. As Peter Stearns wrote in 1998, “one of the reasons history holds its place in current education is because earlier leaders believed that a knowledge of certain historical facts helped distinguish the educated from the uneducated.”
Stearns also stated, “More important, studying history encourages habits of mind that are vital for responsible public behavior, whether as a national or community leader, an informed voter, a petitioner, or a simple observer.”

This rationale presupposes that there are those who’ve been granted the right and duty to determine what is, or is not, “responsible public behavior”. Such conceit suggests that, despite America having a democratic society, in the sense that the people are allowed to freely express their opinions and vote, the natural tendency toward aristocracy, warned against by such Founding Fathers as James Madison, is, and always has been, present in America. The cultural elites, or leaders, define the terms of citizenship and expect their inferiors to simply toe the line.

In 1893, when the Committee of Ten structured the curriculum that would be standard in secondary schools, America was experiencing the influx of millions of immigrants. These newcomers were viewed with fear and suspicion. Somehow, these foreigners had to be turned into “Americans”. A creation myth was needed to indoctrinate them in an American “creed”, readily accepted by all. This creation myth became what Bruce VanSledright has termed the “freedom quest narrative”, going something like this:

“Persecuted Anglos fled Europe and the source of their oppressive overlords and traveled to the New World in search of freedom. The birth of the United States was the result of a quixotic struggle to overthrow European-style tyranny and establish a new nation founded on individual liberty and the unregulated pursuit of happiness…With copious amounts of hard work and the goal of individual liberty beckoning them from every horizon, patriots and pioneers threw off their Old World trappings and were born anew. The nation they built stood for liberty, democracy, and the right to live and produce all their minds and hearts could desire…. The result was a nation state, populated by freedom seekers who created the best and most powerful experiment in nation building the world had yet to see.”

Despite the presumptions of Enlightment era progress in human affairs, this was simply a modern manifestation of tribalism. Character flaws in the Founding Fathers were either minimized or ignored completely. Over time, additional myths were created, like the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, and Longfellow’s account of the “midnight ride of Paul Revere”. In point of fact, Revere never made it.

In the 1920s, following the Bolshevik Revolution, an additional element was added, that of American “Exceptionalism”. This element was added to the creation myth to explain why America differed so much from Europe at the time, because of the absence of a strong Socialist movement. Numerous Socialist and Communist writers of the time sought to explain why their ideology was not being as readily accepted in America. According to Marx and Engels, America should actually become the first Socialist country in the world because of its capitalist nature.

To ensure this indoctrination, compulsory school laws were enacted, taking children away from their parents so they could be “educated” as the cultural elites saw fit. In 1852, when Massachusetts introduced the first compulsory school law, Horace Mann, Boston’s Commissioner of Education, put it succinctly. He said, “With the old not much can be done; but with their children, the great remedy is education. The rising generation must be taught as our children are taught. We say must be, because in many cases this can only be accomplished by coercion. Children must be gathered up and forced into schools and those who resist and impede this plan, whether parents or priests, must be held accountable and punished.”

What is a good citizen? Who gets to decide?

In 1783, immediately following the Revolutionary War, George Washington wrote Sentiments on a Peace Establishment, setting forth his views on what peacetime military force would be needed to provide for the common defense. In this document, he said, “It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.”

So, to George Washington, military service was essential for good citizenship. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, believed that such would lead to a large standing army. And, he believed that the “yeoman farmer”, ready to serve when called upon, was more in keeping with a free society. Here we have diametrically opposing views on what constitutes good citizenship.

When the United States entered World War I, the Army developed classification tests to determine assignments to various military occupations. “Army Alpha” tested those who were fluent in English, while "Army Beta" was given to those who still spoke a foreign language. It was found that over 50% of American males tested could not read above a 4th grade level. Most lived on farms and had never traveled more than 10 miles from home.

In World War II, military technology had advanced much farther than in the previous war. Unlike wars in the past men could not be taken from their villages, given a weapon, and shoved into the ranks to create an effective army. With the rapid advances in technology, World War II would demand men with complex skills to operate and repair the weapons of war. The method in which millions of men began their classification by the Army was taking the Army General Classification Test (AGCT).

Despite an intervening 20 years of supposed progress in education, immediately prior to Pearl Harbor over 347,000 men who registered for Selective Service merely made marks on their registration cards due to their inability to sign their names. The problem of illiteracy was such a big issue that the Army struggled with finding a policy that would allow it to meet its manpower requirements while still maintaining a high level of efficiency needed to fight and win the war.

In both World Wars, thousands of American men could barely read, let alone have studied history in school. But, they served their country in its hour of need. In large measure, the GI Bill was enacted after World War II because of the low level of education that had existed at the start of the war. It was realized that the advance of technology, particularly the technology of modern war, would require a higher level in the future.

One argument always put forth as a measure of good citizenship is voting. But, it must be remembered that thousands of African American men either volunteered or were conscripted to fight in both world wars, but were denied the right to vote through such devices as the poll tax and literacy tests.

Today, there are approximately 25,000 non-citizens serving in the American armed forces, with another 8,000 or so entering each year. The services have a special program to help these men and women become citizens by the end of their first enlistment. If they do not, they are not allowed to remain. What do these non-citizens learn? They learn the information necessary to pass the citizenship test given by the Federal government. As they to be considered “bad citizens” because they didn’t take the 6 hours of American History required by the Texas Education Code?

The American mantra has been repeated so often and so generally since the late 1800s that it has become something of an article of faith. But, if the study of history was actually essential for good citizenship, other democracies would cite it as a rationale. The Founding Fathers cited Civic Virtue as necessary for one to live peacefully in any community, regardless of its form of government. It is in the discipline of Philosophy, not History, that one learns about such things as Ethics and the Virtues. But, one doesn’t hear Philosophy professors saying that their discipline is essential for good, or even, effective citizenship.

Perhaps it’s human nature to view what one has devoted a lifetime of study and work to as being of extreme importance. But, only in America do historians claim their discipline is so foundationally important that without it, the entire American way of life will collapse. It is most likely that this argument is put forth mainly to ensure that American History remains a required course so these academic historians can keep their jobs. In fact, most of the historians populating higher education have nothing but contempt for America and have been indoctrinating students with this view for the past 30 years or so.

This explains, in large measure, the origins of ANTIFA. Although they wear black masks to hide their identities from authorities, and their parents who are paying tuition, some of them will speak with reporters. It’s clear that these are young college students who have internalized the message that Western Civilization in general, and America in particular, are the focus of evil in the world. This has to come from somewhere. They are not intelligent enough to have come to that conclusion on their own.

While studying history does develop skills that one needs in daily life, such as the ability to assess evidence, the ability to assess conflicting interpretations, and the ability to assess change by exposure to past examples of change, the “study of history as essential for good citizenship” canard reflects an American rationale not shared elsewhere. American History is actually replete with examples of how NOT to treat one’s fellow man. The study of history does encourage critical thinking, which is very helpful to identify when a politician is lying (his lips are moving).

Having served America in uniform for 30 years, I believe I've been a good citizen. I simply reject the view that others have the right to define citizenship's terms and require that any particular version of history be force fed to a captive audience. However, I would welcome other views, particular from those in other countries, so long as their comments are stated reasonably, rather than emotionally.

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Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true. But, many others are believed simply because they've been asserted again and again.
jahenders
Colorado Springs
CO USA
Posts: 628
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/27/2018 11:47:28 AM

So you have a clue of what's been done (right and wrong) before. if nothing else, so you don't look like politicians so often do or the 'people on the street' they question on late night TV

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BWilson

 
Posts: 4775
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/27/2018 12:45:22 PM

I simply reject the view that others have the right to define citizenship's terms and require that any particular version of history be force fed to a captive audience.

 The fly in the ointment is that the products of historiography are often a narrow and biased view of history itself. We're told we're learning "history" when in fact, we're learning what one professor in a course believes to be important [and probably following guidance of some sort].

 Military history has really brought this out, for me. Colonel Mac, I've read accounts of battles given by historians of the opposing sides, and sometimes, I would never know they are both describing the same battle except that the locale and date is identical.

 And the social sciences in general are subjects the curriculum of which is easily altered to support the politics of the day. In some ways, the Antifa bunch remind me of the German university students radicalized by Hitler's regime. They are radicals in search of a cause with no solutions to offer besides violence and demands for ideological conformity.

Cheers,

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.
OpanaPointer
St. Louis
MO USA
Posts: 1389
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/27/2018 3:34:08 PM

"If no plan survives first contact with the enemy, then surely no history survives the first retelling."
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jahenders
Colorado Springs
CO USA
Posts: 628
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/28/2018 9:58:04 AM


Quote:
"If no plan survives first contact with the enemy, then surely no history survives the first retelling."
--OpanaPointer


All too true and, even if it survives that, it certainly won't survive the likely revisionism of later decades (or centuries), applying current mindsets to ancient times.
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan
MI USA
Posts: 5893
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/28/2018 10:01:10 AM

"Any history we forget, we are destined to re-live"!

Where have we heard that before??

MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
OpanaPointer
St. Louis
MO USA
Posts: 1389
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/28/2018 11:07:03 AM


Quote:
"Any history we forget, we are destined to re-live"!

Where have we heard that before??

MD
--Michigan Dave

Probably from the same guy who said "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
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brian grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/28/2018 7:04:59 PM

Whopping great essay, ColonelMac. I hope you see this as an open essay that non-US folks can respond to!

In general, I believe that US manipulation of history to generate citizenship has been both misguided and, particularly over the past two decades or so, counter-productive. I don't think the US is alone in this, though their specifics may differ from those used by the British during the height and waning of their Empire, or by the Germans with the reverse vision of suggesting the germanic spirit was so strong it leapt national boundaries to share itself with the world.

I work better reading paper copy and my printer has turned itself off. I hope I get it fixed soon so I can respond to the many different issues you raise.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
brian grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 9/29/2018 9:48:54 PM

I want to go back to MD's post. It's too easy to dismiss yet another version of an adage, and I think Dave's comment not just solid, but appropriate to the thread.

I grabbed this off the internet. Don't know how accurate it is, but it is one a number which talk about a misquote that is misinterpreted and mis-stated all too often.
Quote:
The commonly used expression, "Those who ignore history are bound (or doomed) to repeat it" is actually a mis-quotation of the original text written by George Santayana (1863-1952), who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Quote:


I'm fascinated by the differences between "those who ignore history are bound (doomed) to repeat it" – the more or less accepted version – and "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", written by the author. The differences are massive, but probably not exactly what folks want to discuss on MHO.

The concept of historical values is only valid if the values exist. And it it possible that at least some "historical values" embedded in US values are based on less than fact-based reality.

Put very simply, what if – just to look at one admittedly critical myth of the rise of the US – the memory of the events of the Revolutionary War are not forgotten but merely misremembered? What if – and this is one of the hints found in C-Mac's essay – the history of the US has been increasingly separated from the realities of the past?

I've always accepted the now lauded "No Taxation without Representation". I might suggest that folks look at how trade continued between the 13 British Colonies and the French West Indies despite British embargoes required by both the UK and the colonies. IIUC, the various taxes on items such as tea were an attempt to reclaim taxes which should have been paid for French trade. I'm having some trouble remembering a good source for information, but I believe I'm thinking of Matthew Parker's Sugar Barons, which points out the relative importance of various British colonies. IIRC, the single island of Barbados was more financially important than all 123 colonies combined.

Seems to me that the US ignored the reality of the past while creating a series of vignettes that have been stitched together to exemplify the US.

Just to push this one more step to far, my father's family has a past without a history. Strangely, my mother's family is considered by many to have a past because of family links to the colonial US., which they rejected.

I haven't read Santayana. I think I should. But I'm also going to explore what happens when the past is deliberately misremembered, and then used as a vision for the future. I think this too is an obvious part of what ColonelMac is raising.

Cheers
Brian G





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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
ColonelMac1775
Copperas Cove
TX USA
Posts: 85
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 10/1/2018 5:00:57 AM

The quote of the words of Santayana are, themselves, an example of how "historians" can, and do, select the "facts" they want emphasized or remembered. Santayana wasn't finished. He went on to say: “History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory. Memory itself is an internal rumour, and when to this hearsay within the mind we add the falsified echoes that reach us from others, we have but a shifting and unseizable basis to build upon. The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe.”

Those reading history should heed the words of Edgar Allen Poe in The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether, “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” As I used to tell my students, read with a healthy dose of skepticism and keep in mind that every author has a point of view. Some may do their best to control for bias, but others are not as honest. When reading, ask yourself these questions:

Who wrote it?
What is/was his/her background, training, and experience?
If the author is making a truth claim, is he/she qualified to do so?
Who is/was the intended audience?
What is/was the author’s purpose or goal?
Is/Was the author pushing a personal agenda? If so, can it be deciphered?
Has any conflicting or disconfirming evidence been omitted or dismissed as unimportant?


Col Mac
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Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true. But, many others are believed simply because they've been asserted again and again.
OpanaPointer
St. Louis
MO USA
Posts: 1389
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 10/1/2018 6:55:37 AM

In other words, basic historiographical procedures.
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis
MO USA
Posts: 1389
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 11/17/2018 3:11:45 PM

We have terabytes of files on Hyperwar, and nowhere the whole story. The student of history has to keep in mind that they will never know everything, and that the thing they don't know might be the most important thing.
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brian grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 11/17/2018 7:27:06 PM

OP, there is no whole story, as you say. And students of history (or any other academic discipline) will never know everything about their discipline.

I was going to post something about the following in response to other comments to this thread. Hope you don't mind If I tie it to your comment.

Let me start with two hypotheses (though they may be restatements of the same thing, and though I take them as axioms):
• There is a difference between learning and knowledge.
• There are differences between facts and understanding.

Some folks talk about "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing... ." That's an inaccurate quotation from Alexander Pope's "Essay on Criticism", who wrote "A little learning is a dangerous thing". And almost nobody knows the second line of Pope's couplet: "Drink deep, or touch not the Pierian spring." My point: learning and knowledge are two distinct qualities, and to replace Pope's "learning" with "knowledge" is just one example of how distinct they are.

A host of facts is simply meaningless accretion without a means of assimilating and evaluating them. This applies to any academic discipline, not just to history.

Some 50+ years ago, about the time I was writing my doctoral dissertation (in the Faculty of English), I read a striking statement from a very influential critical theorist. I believe it was Northrop Frye, but it may have been Marshall McLuhan. He said something like: "English is not a subject of study, but an object of study." I think that applies to most academic studies at the post-secondary level. I also think it applies to your comments. It has been good advice both in my studies and my life. If I can't see an issue dispassionately, then I can comment but I can't evaluate.

Some few centuries ago, one of my idols (Samuel Johnson) suggested that a man would learn nothing of value after the age of 20. That was when learning was learning and knowledge was trivia. That was when values were based on truths which did not change with time, but remained constant.

Whatever Colonel Mac might say, History isn't a unique discipline. The values applied to History have been changing since I first considered choosing History as my academic major some 58 years ago. I find the current focus on documentation repulsive, I will admit, and think it threatens to diminish historical study.

It's fair that Colonel Mac is focusing on history on this site. But in the 600 years since the introduction of "modern" academics to university curricula, every discipline has been impacted.

Somebody on the thread mentions the potential impact of antifi views on academics. I honestly don't accept that as a danger, though it could become an issue.

Issues – and this might swing us back to the initial post on this thread – can have an impact on any academic discipline. But if the issue is not academically relevant or sound, it will lose its power. Or at least, that is my hope. If academic disciplines become subservient to social fads of any persuasion, we will enter a world as dark as the "post-McCarthy" intellectual stabilities talked of very early in this thread.

Oh, dear! How I could go on!!

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
jeremycrowhurst
NASHVILLE
TN USA
Posts: 2
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 5/10/2019 5:52:15 AM

History Helps Us Understand Change and How the Society We Live in Came to Be The second reason history is inescapable as a subject of serious study follows closely on the first. The past causes the present, and so the future.
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis
MO USA
Posts: 1389
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 5/10/2019 7:08:07 AM

For me watching other people make huge mistakes from the safety of time is quite entertaining.
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 5/10/2019 12:39:43 PM

This was one of those posts that really had me thinking.Thank you ColonelMac.I had to put it aside because my thoughts went in so many directions.So just a couple of points.

There was a stunning 1 hour interview on german tv with the german philosopher Richard Precht asking Christopher Clark this very question.Would like to post it as Clark really proved what a brilliant historian he is but it´s in german.

I would also add that Frederick the Great was the first monarch to introduce compulsary education for all children as he deemed it essential that all citizens should be able to read, write and count.

In 1809, the Prussian King after reading the December 1792 issue of the Berlinische Monatsschrift under the title "On public state education" called Wilhelm von Humboldt from his diplomatic position in Rome to completely reform the prussian education system.



"Humboldt states that 'the ultimate task of our existence is to give the fullest possible content to the concept of humanity in our own person ... through the impact of actions in our own lives.' This task 'can only be implemented through the links established between ourselves as individuals and the world around us'

In a letter to the Prussian king, he wrote: "There are undeniably certain kinds of knowledge that must be of a general nature and, more importantly, a certain cultivation of the mind and character that nobody can afford to be without. People obviously cannot be good craftworkers, merchants, soldiers or businessmen unless, regardless of their occupation, they are good, upstanding and – according to their condition – well-informed human beings and citizens."


Something else I would mention is "The Uses and Abuses of History" by MARGARET MacMILLAN

[Read More]

Although one could quibble about her examples,I consider it essential for anybody interested in history.

Trevor

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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Phil andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 5/10/2019 2:27:21 PM

Thucydides : History of the Peloponnesian War.

Written two and a half thousand years ago, by one who witnessed the events he depicted.

When I was sixteen years old, I was made to study this at school.

Fifty years later, I still think that it transcends. If anyone wishes to ask why we should study history, my response is almost automatic .....take a couple of hours of your time, and just browse through some of this ancient narrative of a conflict that might, in so many ways, remind us of wars through the ages.

I’ve been made to study the histories written by Homer, Livy and Herodotus from antiquity , and the more modern works of Gibbon and Macaulay. They’ve all made a profound impression on me, but none has excited my admiration to the extent of Thucydides’s narrative.

The discipline he displayed was, I think, truly heroic...he tried to make an objective assessment of events , and, in so doing, he delved into military, political, diplomatic , social and scientific matters in a way that many modern counterparts have failed to emulate.

If you seek to discover the real value of history, this is the place where you will find it.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
OpanaPointer
St. Louis
MO USA
Posts: 1389
Re: Why Study History?
Posted on: 5/10/2019 3:06:25 PM

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7142
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thompsonmax
Detroit
MI USA
Posts: 2
Why Study History?
Posted on: 12/19/2019 6:41:06 AM

Hi everyone. I totally agree with you guys. As Winston Churchill once said: “A nation that forgets its past has no future”. I like history, especially different military conflicts and wars.

[Read More]
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G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/22/2020 6:30:02 PM

So as seen above, some reasons would be to learn the lessons history could teach in order to avoid making the same mistakes again;
... another might be understand what happened "back then" that got us to where we are now (which sort of underscores that first one above).

Here's something else to consider;
7 Things You Realize When You Read History
Megan Holstein

#1: People are really shitty
...
2. Most people who have ever lived had terrible lives
3. Everything you think you know about life is wrong
4. The way the world works is arbitrary
5. The world can go from peaceful to war-torn overnight
6. You realize you can become anything
7. Even in the worst moments, something good can happen

Some details how she came to these observations;
[Read More]
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/22/2020 8:28:04 PM

G David

So why the lacuna between 1 and 2? I assume there is something people are really shitty about, whether it's learning from history, or accepting historical realities, or something else.

You realize that by giving Megan Holstein's list you open up other seven-part lists.

So:
Things you may or may not find out when your read history:
1. Historical figures only seem to be different from the rest of us.
2. Thomas Hobbes was wrong when he said life "nasty, brutal and short." He forgot to add "self-centred" and "meaningless" to the list.
3. Your life has no more value or importance to anybody than that of an English serf in 1345. Or, for that matter, a newt.
4. The way the world works has nothing to do with humans. History may appear to be arbitrary, but that's only because humans may destroy the environment but the won't destroy the earth, which works outside human nonsense.
5. The world doesn't care a fig about peace or war, which are human terms. At the same time, the world, were it sentient, would know humans are at war with it.
6. Whatever you may realize about your potential, you probably won't act on it. If you do, nobody will give a damn unless it benefits them.
7. Most hominids are so busy confessing their bad behaviour to an imagined god that they have lost any sense of what is good or decent.

In truth, I'm not quite that cynical by any means. But I do find it interesting that folks make lists that reflect a self-centred view of hominid importance on a planet on which they have existed for such a short time, and which they are so hell-bent on destroying to stroke a rather primitive animal ego.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/23/2020 12:23:27 PM

Quote:
G David

So why the lacuna between 1 and 2? I assume there is something people are really shitty about, whether it's learning from history, or accepting historical realities, or something else.

You realize that by giving Megan Holstein's list you open up other seven-part lists.

So:
Things you may or may not find out when your read history:
1. Historical figures only seem to be different from the rest of us.
2. Thomas Hobbes was wrong when he said life "nasty, brutal and short." He forgot to add "self-centred" and "meaningless" to the list.
3. Your life has no more value or importance to anybody than that of an English serf in 1345. Or, for that matter, a newt.
4. The way the world works has nothing to do with humans. History may appear to be arbitrary, but that's only because humans may destroy the environment but the won't destroy the earth, which works outside human nonsense.
5. The world doesn't care a fig about peace or war, which are human terms. At the same time, the world, were it sentient, would know humans are at war with it.
6. Whatever you may realize about your potential, you probably won't act on it. If you do, nobody will give a damn unless it benefits them.
7. Most hominids are so busy confessing their bad behaviour to an imagined god that they have lost any sense of what is good or decent.

In truth, I'm not quite that cynical by any means. But I do find it interesting that folks make lists that reflect a self-centred view of hominid importance on a planet on which they have existed for such a short time, and which they are so hell-bent on destroying to stroke a rather primitive animal ego.

Cheers
Brian G

Well Brian, ... aside from such being my style, that "#1" was a sub-title of sorts to the article and one would see this if they had clicked the link and read the short but full article. Which gave some detail/explain to the items on the list.

I haven't time or energy to address the hubris of your "list of seven" one-by-one (maybe later), but I think the topic of this thread was 'His-story' which tends to be one of hominid focus and perspective. I don't share your cynical and negative perspective, but then I'm a country lad whom gets dirt under his fingernails tending the flora and fauna on and about my small chunk of Terra/Gai so it's likely I have a bit different view of the world and reality.

Skol

EDIT; fix spellin'
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/23/2020 12:41:00 PM

The source is Megan Holstein. I always like to check sources and bona fides.

This author claims to be a medium and self help guru.

I read the article. It seemed a bit whimsical and a bit cynical, but I am not sure what I am supposed to say about it. So we have her observations but not a serious answer to the question, "Why Study History".

DavidGBock, why did the article appeal to you?

George
----------------------------------
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/25/2020 2:23:40 AM

Details and explanations later when have more time. For now part archive and part test ....
The Baloney Detection Kit
Carl Sagan’s rules for critical thinking offer cognitive fortification against propaganda, pseudoscience, and general falsehood.
...
[Read More]
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/25/2020 7:03:45 AM

"part test"??? Now that is intriguing, GDavidBock. Please explain. What or who is being tested? Or I am misinterpreting your intent?

George
----------------------------------
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/25/2020 8:36:43 PM

Well, G. David Bock, and nice to talk to you again as well. We appear to be such kindred spirits!

I'll admit I don't always follow every link offered. Often they take me to sites and forums which not only go in directions I don't accept but which also hook things onto my visit. I'm not saying the link you offered would have done that, but that I exercise caution when clicking on a link.

Is it something I've said that makes you assume I'm hubristic? Is there any reason for you to assume I'm hubristic? Or any reason for you to assume: a) that the list of seven I offered was mine, rather than just some random fabrication?, or b) that my comments suggest overbearing and misdirected pride?, or c) that I was in some way attacking you sufficiently for you to be hostile?

Thanks for the direction to Carl Sagan. I like Dr Sagan and at least the works he has generated that I have seen. I'll read his criteria at my leisure. Thank you. I'm a little concerned that you may be suggesting I need Dr Sagan's direction in evaluation or decision making. That suggests you also know my educational and academic history as well. And I'm a little concerned that you appear to be treating me as an enemy, for no reason I can determine.

I don't think it matters whether you expend your energy or your time on my "list of seven", since it was just one "list of seven" of many possibilities. I sense you've determined I am some kind of negative force in the universe. Sorry for breathing!

Cheers
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 4:29:00 PM

Quote:
The source is Megan Holstein. I always like to check sources and bona fides.


I like to do similar, but there are limits to how helpful such might be. In my decades in life and on internet forums I've found that 'credentials and bona fides' are not a guarantee that one isn't spewing smack and GIGO.

Quote:
This author claims to be a medium and self help guru.


Which should place her in company with most of the other priests, pastors, preachers, ministers, Imams and similar of the many religions past and present.
As with any source, viewer discretion is advised, "your mileage may vary".

Quote:
I read the article. It seemed a bit whimsical and a bit cynical, but I am not sure what I am supposed to say about it. So we have her observations but not a serious answer to the question, "Why Study History".


If one of the reasons to study history is to know more about the past and how we got to where we are and how things and people might have been different, or the same, would seem this provided one of a few possible answers and observations.

Quote:
DavidGBock, why did the article appeal to you?

George


It tends to fit the negativity common to "educated" persons with an elitist view of themselves versus others, the reach they will go to in order to seem more enlightened than "the masses". So a sort of whimsy on my part, ...
.... and also to see if any would have a come back of similar list with a more positive slant/take on humanity and our "his(her)-story".

BTW, it's G. David Bock
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 5:21:23 PM

Quote:
"part test"??? Now that is intriguing, GDavidBock. Please explain. What or who is being tested? Or I am misinterpreting your intent?

George


Well "George",
For a start, I am the FNG here and don't know any of you all from Adam, as the saying goes. I notice that when I click on names of members and try to learn anything from "Profiles" there is nadda, so I'm left with "Content" of what you all say and present. ...
... So I'm on a learning curve here of sorts and "tests" (or baited traps if you prefer) are one device to help get to know whom you all are and what I'm dealing with.

For example, in your prior post you made much of "sources and bona fides" and that struck me as much like the item from Sagan's article I linked: " ... the most common and perilous fallacies of logic and rhetoric." of which number two of the twenty was:
" argument from authority (e.g., President Richard Nixon should be re-elected because he has a secret plan to end the war in Southeast Asia — but because it was secret, there was no way for the electorate to evaluate it on its merits; the argument amounted to trusting him because he was President: a mistake, as it turned out) "

Myself, I place more value in Content than "credentials", so initials after a name tend to be more a warning of hubris and academic bluster than any real display of knowledge or experience.

Speaking of "experience", I'm reminded of the adage that there are two types;
1) The person whom has learned, trained, and practiced for ONE year, than repeats that small base 19 times over and claims "20 years experience" ...
2) The person whom is constantly learning, testing, evaluating, trainingt, and expanding their base and hence might after 20 years of such actually have "20 years experience".

"Content" reveals the differences of the two far more than initials after one's name.

Anyone whom replied was "being tested".
"intent" was to see if any other use/applications would be presented.

BTW, I sometimes have the mood to "jerk chains and rattle cages" just to stir responses, so keep such in mind. I tend to be candid and provocative at times.
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 5:57:55 PM

Quote:
Well, G. David Bock, and nice to talk to you again as well. We appear to be such kindred spirits!


Brian - enjoy your sarcasm. I may have been in a bit of snarky mood the other day in my response, then there is this ...

... on these forums one is reading "words on a screen", which in the absence of voice fluctuation, gestures of body and other 'non-verbal clues' can come across as much different than intended by the author. Such is a constant challenge I've found; what sound one way in the mind of the author can read another way in the mind of the reader. Perhaps this is what may be in play ...

Quote:
I'll admit I don't always follow every link offered. Often they take me to sites and forums which not only go in directions I don't accept but which also hook things onto my visit. I'm not saying the link you offered would have done that, but that I exercise caution when clicking on a link.


I can understand that reluctance, on the flip side, just about anywhere one goes on the internet, "cookies" will be deposited, tracking of your "clicks" ensue, and "tailored ads" will "pop up". Such is the price of being "on the 'net".

I'll admit this forum's structure of just showing a "read more" is a bit blind faith to use, so in future I'll at least provide the plain text 'http' in advance, or in place of, the handy click/link of the "read more".

Quote:
Is it something I've said that makes you assume I'm hubristic? Is there any reason for you to assume I'm hubristic? Or any reason for you to assume: a) that the list of seven I offered was mine, rather than just some random fabrication?, or b) that my comments suggest overbearing and misdirected pride?, or c) that I was in some way attacking you sufficiently for you to be hostile?


In lack of a link/source cited or "read more" provided, I assumed such was of your own authorship.
The negativity to humanity/hominids of your post/response is something I've seen often and has left me wondering why authors of such still go on living if such is so fruitless and useless.

I mean, if it is all so bad and negatively discouraging, why not "recycle one's karma" and see if you can get better in the next incarnation???

Quote:
Thanks for the direction to Carl Sagan. I like Dr Sagan and at least the works he has generated that I have seen. I'll read his criteria at my leisure. Thank you. I'm a little concerned that you may be suggesting I need Dr Sagan's direction in evaluation or decision making. That suggests you also know my educational and academic history as well. And I'm a little concerned that you appear to be treating me as an enemy, for no reason I can determine.


Actually, more directed to "George" where not just for general use and reference. I find Sagan's hints on "Baloney Detection" essential and useful in many areas of historical examinations and considerations and a frequent useful reminder to touch base on.

Nothing personal meant or implied. sorry if you misconstrued.

Quote:
I don't think it matters whether you expend your energy or your time on my "list of seven", since it was just one "list of seven" of many possibilities. I sense you've determined I am some kind of negative force in the universe. Sorry for breathing!

Cheers
Brian G


I think you may be taking this more to heart and personally than intended. I can be at times a bit hasty, especially this time of year when the "to do" list is backlogged with yard and garden chores and my time for keyboard is a bit limited. Wasn't intending to make it seem so personal, but if you list isn't your own, from where did it come?

As for humans/hominids being a "plague" upon the Earth/planet, consider that if not for some "Interventions", we might still be running about in bare fur and grubbing and grasping a simian existence and not have brought "Civilization" upon this globe. There might be a reason/cause outside of the "Creationism" of the many religions/ideologies with deities handed to us, or the random probabilities of Chance (Evolution) which seem the poles of our origins. There may be a "middle ground" of outside involvement by which we have been the tools for some other agenda not clearly known or understood. (I may give some clue on this later, maybe in another thread.)

Meanwhile, I doubt that most humans through times past were intentionally out to destroy the environment, but more often working with a short term perspective and urgent survival need that sought expedient solutions where lack of knowledge and understanding cased unintended harm. Most of those in the past I think did the best they could based on the little they knew or understood.
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 6:24:24 PM

Part of the "Why" might include the "How".

It's been said that "The Winners write history"; yet the losers also write their versions. Look at how even today, the educational process in Japan gives sparse if any mention to their WW2 "Rape of Nanking", Special Unit 731, or Bataan Death March; among many other "atrocities".

Often both sides write there versions and the historian has to be a bit "creative" to find the "truth" ~ middle ground of objective reality. Such is a bit more possible and easier in modern times when record keeping has been more extensive (even the Nazis kept extensive records of the slaughter of the Holocaust).

Take for example a given day in August of 1940 when the German Luftwaffe sent waves of bombers and fighters over Britian(UK) in the "Battle of Britain" and the RAF responded sending up waves of fighters in defense.

At the end of the day and battles, the Germans might claim that they lost 10 bombers and fighters while shooting down 40 RAF fighters.
The RAF might claim the lost only 10 fighters and shot down 40 German bombers and fighters.

Both claims are public/"press" release but which/whom is true or accurate?

Aside from impact of "Fog of War"(uncertainty) and trying to limit intel to the other side, often it would not be until after the end of the war, post 1945, when the real "Truth" might come out. Such would be via the records of the ground crew mechanics whom had the real and objective tallies of how many aircraft and crews were on hand and started the day versus how many came back and what condition they were in by day's end. As could be expected, the real numbers often were somewhere between the figures given by both sides.

While "History" is often the result of 20/20 Hindsight, often it can be years after the fact before one can access the full story and details of what might really have happened. Only then can real "lessons to be learned" start to apply.
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 8:53:27 PM

G. David Bock,

I think that you will find that most people on this forum are just regular, good folks with an interest in military history.
When new people arrive, I don't believe that it is common practice to analyze and assess that new person and to make a quick judgement.

And so I was a little surprised to learn that you feel the need to "test" or present "baited traps" for the rest of us. I'll be truthful, it is a little off putting, for me anyway.

Don't you think that people deserve a little more time before you pass judgement upon them? May I presume that you are looking for some specific qualities in individuals before you will engage in discourse? Are you assessing intellect? Writing ability? Political persuasion?

Other than your newness here, what would would motivate you to engage in that sort of activity?

I guess that I don't get it as it seems rather presumptuous and even egotistical to begin testing or grading new found friends, if indeed that is what you were doing.

So relax and enjoy.

BTW, why the quotation marks around my name? Seemed odd.

George
----------------------------------
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 9:33:16 PM

Quote:
G. David Bock,

I think that you will find that most people on this forum are just regular, good folks with an interest in military history.
When new people arrive, I don't believe that it is common practice to analyze and assess that new person and to make a quick judgement.


I should hope not, but experience on many other Forums has shown otherwise, so ...
Thing is that "Military History"encompasses so much other realms that ....

Quote:
And so I was a little surprised to learn that you feel the need to "test" or present "baited traps" for the rest of us. I'll be truthful, it is a little off putting, for me anyway.


Not a "need" so much as an inclination and should seem part of the "gauge"mechanism" involved ....

Quote:
Don't you think that people deserve a little more time before you pass judgement upon them? May I presume that you are looking for some specific qualities in individuals before you will engage in discourse? Are you assessing intellect? Writing ability? Political persuasion?


Whom says I'm passing any sort of judgement?
I'm looking for content of thought and discourse, not "credentials" ....
... I expect "persuasion" and "intellect leanings" to vary, but be presented in intelligible forms ....

Quote:
Other than your newness here, what would would motivate you to engage in that sort of activity?


Not sure of your motivation or cause here ....

Quote:
I guess that I don't get it as it seems rather presumptuous and even egotistical to begin testing or grading new found friends, if indeed that is what you were doing.


More trying to get a gauge on thoughts, positions,and ideas, etc. ....

Quote:
So relax and enjoy.


Have been so far. This is just an internet Forum and no Large Deal ....

Quote:
BTW, why the quotation marks around my name? Seemed odd.

George


Because prior experience on Forums has shown many a false identity and hence not sure if/what you are ...
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/28/2020 9:56:15 PM

GD Bock.

Right now, everybody is sensitive from time to time. I just want to have some discussion that can include disagreement or dissent without nastiness. In you're case, I probably overstepped my normal sensitivity dampers. Sorry it happened on your watch, so to speak. But actually sorry it happened at all.

As to some of the points you raise, let's start with Quote:
Wasn't intending to make it seem so personal, but if you list isn't your own, from where did it come?

It came from a whim, based on a distaste of "lists" in general. Many years ago I spent some time studying Ben Franklin, a man I admire as a subtle thinker and wit who in some ways outgrew the best of his intelligence. He had a list of 13 "virtues" promulgated when he was quite young; D.H. Lawrence, in his critical essay on Franklin, notes, I assume with at least a touch of mockery, "Ben, even God only needed 10!" I think lists often substitute for thought. So the list did come from me, but I could also generate a list that might be seen as applicable to a navy who fires a commander for being concerned for his troops, or a nation which argues two languages indicate capability of leadership.
Quote:
Meanwhile, I doubt that most humans through times past were intentionally out to destroy the environment, but more often working with a short term perspective and urgent survival need that sought expedient solutions where lack of knowledge and understanding cased unintended harm. Most of those in the past I think did the best they could based on the little they knew or understood.

I get that. I think I agree with it. The point might be that humans have a big brain but not a big understanding. We have – perhaps instinctively – acted on short-term premises because long-term impact is beyond us. I mean, specifically, Homo "Sapiens". Sapiens is the current front-running species in a host of others – including "afarensis" and "erectus" – but hasn't been around long enough to know if it might survive. Right now, it looks as if we've decided to demonstrate that we're just another hominid species that can be dropped for Earth's next next life iteration.
Quote:
As for humans/hominids being a "plague" upon the Earth/planet, consider that if not for some "Interventions", we might still be running about in bare fur and grubbing and grasping a simian existence and not have brought "Civilization" upon this globe. There might be a reason/cause outside of the "Creationism" of the many religions/ideologies with deities handed to us, or the random probabilities of Chance (Evolution) which seem the poles of our origins. There may be a "middle ground" of outside involvement by which we have been the tools for some other agenda not clearly known or understood.

Great image: "bare fur"!

I'm not one to assume humans are the apex. I think 'creationism' is a false lead based on a false assumption leading to a false conclusion. I think any science that assumes "sapiens" is an end product rather than one more transition should go back to its leeches and cutting. I don't equate "chance" with "evolution". I feel most (not all) religions to be panaceas at best and fraudulent at worst. Without saying I believe in a life after death, I would not want to trust my "soul" to any of the Heavens or Valhallas or rebirths or karmas offered by current faiths. Most sound boring, empty and arrogantly prissy.

I'm trying to pin down what your use of "civilization" means. At the most basic level, it is a term defining our conscious sense of our best accomplishments. But when we make earth uninhabitable for homo sapiens, the term will continue to have no meaning. Earth isn't here for us. Without us Earth will still remain. If only we could get over ourselves, we might realize what we're facing.

Oh my! Such a blowhard response!

Cheers
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/29/2020 7:32:22 AM

Quote:
Whom says I'm passing any sort of judgement?
I'm looking for content of thought and discourse, not "credentials" ....
... I expect "persuasion" and "intellect leanings" to vary, but be presented in intelligible forms ....


Credentials are important, especially if the reference is to be used to prove some point, in an essay for example. It seems however, that the musings that you presented from the self help guru were more designed as a test to see which of us could meet a certain standard.

That is why I asked why you posted the writer's list of observations. It appears that it was a "baited trap" if I understand your intent. But really, I wanted to know what you saw in the person's writing that appealed to you. You didn't answer.

EDIT: Check that. You did respond with this: "It tends to fit the negativity common to "educated" persons with an elitist view of themselves versus others". I presume that you refer to those with a formal education. Do you have some sort of proof that educated people are elitist and display negativity as a result of that education? Clearly a personal bias and quite unfair.

We would all hope to express ourselves intelligibly and intelligently, to write in a manner that is not convoluted or designed to obfuscate, and to be concise and to the point.

Quote:
Quote:
Other than your newness here, what would would motivate you to engage in that sort of activity?
-my question to you

-Your response to me

Not sure of your motivation or cause here ....


Let me speak plainly. I don't believe that I or anyone else on this forum has anything to prove to you. And until now, I and perhaps others did not feel that you had anything to prove as well. There is no need to be prickly.

Lastly, there are people who have been using this forum for years and care for it. They would dispute your contention that, "This is just an internet Forum and no Large Deal."

Again I say, please just relax and enjoy the good company here.

George





----------------------------------
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/29/2020 4:16:28 PM

Quote:
Quote:
Whom says I'm passing any sort of judgement?
I'm looking for content of thought and discourse, not "credentials" ....
... I expect "persuasion" and "intellect leanings" to vary, but be presented in intelligible forms ....


Credentials are important, especially if the reference is to be used to prove some point, in an essay for example. It seems however, that the musings that you presented from the self help guru were more designed as a test to see which of us could meet a certain standard.

That is why I asked why you posted the writer's list of observations. It appears that it was a "baited trap" if I understand your intent. But really, I wanted to know what you saw in the person's writing that appealed to you. You didn't answer.

EDIT: Check that. You did respond with this: "It tends to fit the negativity common to "educated" persons with an elitist view of themselves versus others". I presume that you refer to those with a formal education. Do you have some sort of proof that educated people are elitist and display negativity as a result of that education? Clearly a personal bias and quite unfair.

We would all hope to express ourselves intelligibly and intelligently, to write in a manner that is not convoluted or designed to obfuscate, and to be concise and to the point.

Quote:
Quote:
Other than your newness here, what would would motivate you to engage in that sort of activity?
-my question to you

-Your response to me

Not sure of your motivation or cause here ....


Let me speak plainly. I don't believe that I or anyone else on this forum has anything to prove to you. And until now, I and perhaps others did not feel that you had anything to prove as well. There is no need to be prickly.

Lastly, there are people who have been using this forum for years and care for it. They would dispute your contention that, "This is just an internet Forum and no Large Deal."

Again I say, please just relax and enjoy the good company here.

George






George,

You seem to be the one getting "prickly",
trying to make a mountain out of a molehill,
keep picking at the scab,
... whatever metaphor you like.

Have the last word if you want, but I'm giving this deviation from thread topic a rest.
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/29/2020 5:36:45 PM

Quote:
GD Bock.

Right now, everybody is sensitive from time to time. I just want to have some discussion that can include disagreement or dissent without nastiness. In you're case, I probably overstepped my normal sensitivity dampers. Sorry it happened on your watch, so to speak. But actually sorry it happened at all.

As to some of the points you raise, let's start with Quote:
Wasn't intending to make it seem so personal, but if you list isn't your own, from where did it come?

It came from a whim, based on a distaste of "lists" in general. Many years ago I spent some time studying Ben Franklin, a man I admire as a subtle thinker and wit who in some ways outgrew the best of his intelligence. He had a list of 13 "virtues" promulgated when he was quite young; D.H. Lawrence, in his critical essay on Franklin, notes, I assume with at least a touch of mockery, "Ben, even God only needed 10!" I think lists often substitute for thought. So the list did come from me, but I could also generate a list that might be seen as applicable to a navy who fires a commander for being concerned for his troops, or a nation which argues two languages indicate capability of leadership.
Quote:
Meanwhile, I doubt that most humans through times past were intentionally out to destroy the environment, but more often working with a short term perspective and urgent survival need that sought expedient solutions where lack of knowledge and understanding cased unintended harm. Most of those in the past I think did the best they could based on the little they knew or understood.

I get that. I think I agree with it. The point might be that humans have a big brain but not a big understanding. We have – perhaps instinctively – acted on short-term premises because long-term impact is beyond us. I mean, specifically, Homo "Sapiens". Sapiens is the current front-running species in a host of others – including "afarensis" and "erectus" – but hasn't been around long enough to know if it might survive. Right now, it looks as if we've decided to demonstrate that we're just another hominid species that can be dropped for Earth's next next life iteration.
Quote:
As for humans/hominids being a "plague" upon the Earth/planet, consider that if not for some "Interventions", we might still be running about in bare fur and grubbing and grasping a simian existence and not have brought "Civilization" upon this globe. There might be a reason/cause outside of the "Creationism" of the many religions/ideologies with deities handed to us, or the random probabilities of Chance (Evolution) which seem the poles of our origins. There may be a "middle ground" of outside involvement by which we have been the tools for some other agenda not clearly known or understood.

Great image: "bare fur"!

I'm not one to assume humans are the apex. I think 'creationism' is a false lead based on a false assumption leading to a false conclusion. I think any science that assumes "sapiens" is an end product rather than one more transition should go back to its leeches and cutting. I don't equate "chance" with "evolution". I feel most (not all) religions to be panaceas at best and fraudulent at worst. Without saying I believe in a life after death, I would not want to trust my "soul" to any of the Heavens or Valhallas or rebirths or karmas offered by current faiths. Most sound boring, empty and arrogantly prissy.

I'm trying to pin down what your use of "civilization" means. At the most basic level, it is a term defining our conscious sense of our best accomplishments. But when we make earth uninhabitable for homo sapiens, the term will continue to have no meaning. Earth isn't here for us. Without us Earth will still remain. If only we could get over ourselves, we might realize what we're facing.

Oh my! Such a blowhard response!

Cheers
Brian G

Brian,

Excuse if I don't do the slice-n-dice piecemeal response, rather, just some other assorted replies here.

My use and perspective on civilization would be the basic one found in dictionaries, or Wiki, or here;
https://www.ancient.eu/civilization/
[Read More]
BTW, notice that a web-search for "Civilization" most links the first several pages to Sid Meir's games of that tile, which I find enjoyable and informative in ways.

As far as religions go, my study of such, past to present, suggests we aren't seeing a batch of apples of different colors and flavors, rather a basket of mixed fruit. One item they may have in common is as "population control systems/methods" where they often keep humans in conflict with each other, blocking our species from any sort of common ground or united front~effort~agendas. If this is so, it would reduce the need for an "occupation force" to control this planet, were one to take a certain perspective.

Charles Fort may have been on to something when he speculated to effect that Earth might be property of "Others" and we humans just 'livestock that go with the farm'.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fort
[Read More]
Another perspective could be we are a variation of the theme in Frank Herbert's book "The Dosadi Experiment"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dosadi_Experiment
[Read More]

Within this context, Islam presents a disturbing variation as if one studies it's history, text, and dogma there are two major tenants increasingly in clash with our modern times;
1) Like many religions, it claims the only true path to rewards in the afterlife, HOWEVER, it's version of Paradise/Heaven is one of multiple levels and the higher levels can only be attained by those believers(Muslims) whom are Holy Warriors engaged in Holy War(Jihad).
2) Above encouraged by one of Mohammad's last instructions that his followers were to fight all humankind until everyone has embraced Islam.
Sounds like a prescription for a "Forever War" to me.

As for evolution and chance, seems a lot of chance throughout the planet's history when so many promising and developing lines suddenly go extinct. Much of the flora and fauna extent today aren't the best that evolved, rather the ones that by fluke or whatever survived.

Then comes the case for we humans ~ homo sapiens sapiens, where we have some interesting genetic and physiological differences from our closest animal relatives, the simians, that aren't fully explained by evolution theory other than to say it had to, must have "happened". Too extensive and detailed to get into for now, I'll give a link shortly, but my take goes down an unconventional path.

It starts with the concept that imagination has to have some basis in fact and experience so when we encounter anomalous events and images in the writings/records of earliest cultures/civilizations it's probable these are accounts explained/shown as best they could given limits of their knowledge and technologies. I'm inclined to take such a bit more literal, with adjustments, rather than assign such to imaginative folklore, fairy tales, etc.

Image human origins as a jigsaw puzzle where we have a pile of pieces to fit, but no clear cover picture of how the finished assembly should look. From different times, places, cultures and civs we have these pieces in forms of written records, artifacts, and ruins often showing common methods and technologies, common tales/themes, but scattered across the planet and from peoples whom would seem to have little or no contact with each other.

Trying to fit these pieces together into a pattern of sorts, I've found that the "Occam's Razor" here suggests we humans had our slow evolutionary track accelerated via outside (non-terrestrial) Intervention that included genetic manipulation to produce ourselves into "tools" of sorts for "Their" use and agenda. This "rabbit hole" gets weirder and deeper, and I'm not ready to lead you down further, but more details and hints can be found if you go to this thread on another Forum;
Geminga Scenario
https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/forum/military-history-related-hobbies/alternate-timelines/science-fiction/140637-geminga-scenario
[Read More]

BTW, as for "soul", karma, and the after-life themes, etc. here's something to look into, read, consider, if you can handle a bit more into the "Twilight Zone" so to speak ;
Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot
https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Survivor-Reincarnation-World-Fighter/dp/0446509345
[Read More]
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/29/2020 9:15:06 PM

Quote:
Within this context, Islam presents a disturbing variation as if one studies it's history, text, and dogma there are two major tenants increasingly in clash with our modern times;
1) Like many religions, it claims the only true path to rewards in the afterlife, HOWEVER, it's version of Paradise/Heaven is one of multiple levels and the higher levels can only be attained by those believers(Muslims) whom are Holy Warriors engaged in Holy War(Jihad).
2) Above encouraged by one of Mohammad's last instructions that his followers were to fight all humankind until everyone has embraced Islam.
Sounds like a prescription for a "Forever War" to me.


G. David Bock, perhaps you could provide references, scholarly references, that confirm that the highest level of heaven (Jannah??sp) is reserved for jihadists.

Is there any reference to levels of heaven or the use of the word "heavens" in the plural in the Christian bibles? Yes.
In the Roman Catholic faith, is the reference to a state of existence called purgatory, also not a reference to levels, post death.

An exploration of what jihad actually means in Islam may be worthwhile, as well.

Radical Muslims who have committed violent acts and claim to be acting as jihadis have been condemned by Muslim clerics and scholars. They claim that those violent people are misrepresenting the scholarly sources that they cite to defend their violent actions or are looking for loopholes to justify violent behaviour. Bin Laden did just that when he said that targeting US civilians was justified because the US had targeted Muslim civilians first.

Are there citations in the Christian Bible that incite Christians to violence against non-believers? I believe so.
Polytheists were despised and if believers came upon one, they were to, "bring that man or woman to the gates of the city ... and stone them with stones until they die." (Deuteronomy)
In another section, a comment about believers says, "Blessed is he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." (in reference to polytheists) (Psalms)

Christians have found a way to reconcile their belief in peaceful co-existence with these statements in their holy books. I believe that the millions who worship in the Islamic faith and also live in peace have come to some sort of reconciliation with similar types of instruction in the Koran.

So while the Koran says that Muslims must "fight the infidels", often ignored is the lines that follow that say, "If any of the unbelievers asks you for sanctuary, then take them into your houses so that they might hear the word of God and then let them go on their way,".

As well, some scholars remind us that the infidels actually referred specifically to the Meccans who kicked Mohammed out and they died long ago.

We cannot ignore the misinterpretation of the teachings of Mohammed or the Koran, by radicals. There are radical Christians that scare the hell out of me too.

Look, I am not a religious scholar but I sense that this could easily turn into another anti-Islam thread and that concerns me. But if we could have a good discussion about the world's great religions without a view to condemn, it would be interesting.

Cheers,

George
----------------------------------
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/30/2020 8:27:44 PM

Quote:
Quote:
Within this context, Islam presents a disturbing variation as if one studies it's history, text, and dogma there are two major tenants increasingly in clash with our modern times;
1) Like many religions, it claims the only true path to rewards in the afterlife, HOWEVER, it's version of Paradise/Heaven is one of multiple levels and the higher levels can only be attained by those believers(Muslims) whom are Holy Warriors engaged in Holy War(Jihad).
2) Above encouraged by one of Mohammad's last instructions that his followers were to fight all humankind until everyone has embraced Islam.
Sounds like a prescription for a "Forever War" to me.


G. David Bock, perhaps you could provide references, scholarly references, that confirm that the highest level of heaven (Jannah??sp) is reserved for jihadists.


George ...
... based on what I've seen of your posts and thoughts to date, I'd guess those "scholarly references" would have to be the academic elitist sorts that apologize for and endorse the sorts like K. Marx, I. Lenin, J. Stalin; Etc. ... a.k.a. others of "the State" ~knows best and we~ "educated" and "academic" are the "such" "whom know best and should rule"; bow down to your new masters; etc.etc.etc. /yadda, yadda, yadda, ...

... where lies Citizen's Rights and Responsibilities here??? !!!
Do we not all owe a degree of duty on providing efforts and costs to support and maintain/provide society to all ????? !!!

Yet how to rectify such Greater Social Duty versus Immediate Self Support and Reservation .... ????


A part of me understands where you are coming from, having been there a few times over past dozen+ years and seen and responded to often. While you may be the Oldest and Biggest Fish in this Small Pond; I've been an equal-to-bigger Fish in a Larger Pond, dwarfing this one ten to PPPPLus fold, et. !!!!!


Not that Scale or Size counts, but ....

Getting back to topic/subject ... Regards "Scholars"/'Experts' On Islam, perhaps from within the Religion/Ideology with Deities; ....
... would not Imans of Islam serve .....

So from such texts/references/dogmas~scriptures ....

... Note that a dozen plus years ago I began my efforts for an objective and detailed/accurate examination of Islam ...

Such was upon another BBS/Forum of Messages and with a History Bias ...
... regards the Topic de jure; the Origins and Agenda of Islam are the Focus ....
... many/several have engaged to quibble/argue the "Nuances" ...

... Literal Text Remains .... Fight all Human-Kind until All are Converted to Islam! !!!!

End of Part One for Brevity Sakes ... ....

... More Detailed Responses to Follow ... ...



Quote:
Is there any reference to levels of heaven or the use of the word "heavens" in the plural in the Christian bibles? Yes.
In the Roman Catholic faith, is the reference to a state of existence called purgatory, also not a reference to levels, post death.




An exploration of what jihad actually means in Islam may be worthwhile, as well.

Radical Muslims who have committed violent acts and claim to be acting as jihadis have been condemned by Muslim clerics and scholars. They claim that those violent people are misrepresenting the scholarly sources that they cite to defend their violent actions or are looking for loopholes to justify violent behaviour. Bin Laden did just that when he said that targeting US civilians was justified because the US had targeted Muslim civilians first.

Are there citations in the Christian Bible that incite Christians to violence against non-believers? I believe so.
Polytheists were despised and if believers came upon one, they were to, "bring that man or woman to the gates of the city ... and stone them with stones until they die." (Deuteronomy)
In another section, a comment about believers says, "Blessed is he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." (in reference to polytheists) (Psalms)

Christians have found a way to reconcile their belief in peaceful co-existence with these statements in their holy books. I believe that the millions who worship in the Islamic faith and also live in peace have come to some sort of reconciliation with similar types of instruction in the Koran.

So while the Koran says that Muslims must "fight the infidels", often ignored is the lines that follow that say, "If any of the unbelievers asks you for sanctuary, then take them into your houses so that they might hear the word of God and then let them go on their way,".

As well, some scholars remind us that the infidels actually referred specifically to the Meccans who kicked Mohammed out and they died long ago.

We cannot ignore the misinterpretation of the teachings of Mohammed or the Koran, by radicals. There are radical Christians that scare the hell out of me too.

Look, I am not a religious scholar but I sense that this could easily turn into another anti-Islam thread and that concerns me. But if we could have a good discussion about the world's great religions without a view to condemn, it would be interesting.

Cheers,

George
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Why Study History?
Posted on: 4/30/2020 8:56:10 PM

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Within this context, Islam presents a disturbing variation as if one studies it's history, text, and dogma there are two major tenants increasingly in clash with our modern times;
1) Like many religions, it claims the only true path to rewards in the afterlife, HOWEVER, it's version of Paradise/Heaven is one of multiple levels and the higher levels can only be attained by those believers(Muslims) whom are Holy Warriors engaged in Holy War(Jihad).
2) Above encouraged by one of Mohammad's last instructions that his followers were to fight all humankind until everyone has embraced Islam.
Sounds like a prescription for a "Forever War" to me.


G. David Bock, perhaps you could provide references, scholarly references, that confirm that the highest level of heaven (Jannah??sp) is reserved for jihadists.


George ...
... based on what I've seen of your posts and thoughts to date, I'd guess those "scholarly references" would have to be the academic elitist sorts that apologize for and endorse the sorts like K. Marx, I. Lenin, J. Stalin; Etc. ... a.k.a. others of "the State" ~knows best and we~ "educated" and "academic" are the "such" "whom know best and should rule"; bow down to your new masters; etc.etc.etc. /yadda, yadda, yadda, ...

... where lies Citizen's Rights and Responsibilities here??? !!!
Do we not all owe a degree of duty on providing efforts and costs to support and maintain/provide society to all ????? !!!

Yet how to rectify such Greater Social Duty versus Immediate Self Support and Reservation .... ????


A part of me understands where you are coming from, having been there a few times over past dozen+ years and seen and responded to often. While you may be the Oldest and Biggest Fish in this Small Pond; I've been an equal-to-bigger Fish in a Larger Pond, dwarfing this one ten to PPPPLus fold, et. !!!!!


Not that Scale or Size counts, but ....

Getting back to topic/subject ... Regards "Scholars"/'Experts' On Islam, perhaps from within the Religion/Ideology with Deities; ....
... would not Imans of Islam serve .....

So from such texts/references/dogmas~scriptures ....

... Note that a dozen plus years ago I began my efforts for an objective and detailed/accurate examination of Islam ...

Such was upon another BBS/Forum of Messages and with a History Bias ...
... regards the Topic de jure; the Origins and Agenda of Islam are the Focus ....
... many/several have engaged to quibble/argue the "Nuances" ...

... Literal Text Remains .... Fight all Human-Kind until All are Converted to Islam! !!!!

End of Part One for Brevity Sakes ... ....

... More Detailed Responses to Follow ... ...



PART I ...
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
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