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Ken Natton
Jan22-12, 03:58 PM
P: 272
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
The odd thing of Europe: People still relate to events which happened several millennia ago.
Huh. So let me understand MarcoD, history is not taught in non-European schools and colleges?

Okay. Letís engage with your comment in a little more positive vein. The truth is, there is some merit in the viewpoint you appear to advocate. Letís put it in the context of the subject of this thread. When the Scottish people come to vote on this referendum on independence, and if my doom saying proves to be correct and it is followed hard-upon by a similar vote in Wales, when the Welsh people are faced with a similar question, they should all put the past behind them, and base their judgement of how to vote purely on the basis of the question of what lies in their own best interests today. Put like that, it seems obvious that your dismissal of obsession with the past has merit. Of course that is what they should do. Except that the human (not just European) reality is that the past keeps getting in the way.

It is as much a human thing as is the need for food and shelter to ask the very simple and basic question, how did we get to here? If there are no historians searching for evidence based answers to that question, it tends to get answered by myth and legend. In much the same way as science provides answers that roll back superstition and belief in the supernatural, and replace it with rational, evidence based explanations, so serious history too is about honouring what actually happened. And yes, sometimes, events from the distant past have a tendency to cloud the active, vital issue of today. But the answer is not to dismiss the past. The answer is a quieter, more rational analysis of the past. The answer is a proper, deeper understanding of the past. Just as crackpottery, as it is called here, flourishes where there is ignorance of science, so distortion and manipulation of accounts of past events occur where there is no serious history.

And another human reality that goes way beyond Europe is that for many people, the accurate historical accounts offer deep and profound fascination.