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Does history teach us lessons Give examples - Essay Example

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The present paper is the representation of my reflections on history and the question of whether history teaches us lessons. The question is philosophic and dubious, and thus needs close consideration, based on the examples from the past and present. The aim of the work is to find reasonable conclusion - is it really that history gives us lessons and we don't learn them, or is it that history does not give us any lessons, and it is the matter of our false interpretation of major historical events The answer is yet to be found here.
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Does history teach us lessons Give examples

Download file to see previous pages... We are often told, that history teaches us lessons, and that terrorism is the notion, towards which these historical lessons and knowledge are to be applied. Simultaneously, there is a widely-spread opinion, that looking back at our past we see that there were the possibilities to prevent famous dictators from coming to the power and causing irreversible effects. The past cannot be changed, but it can and should be learned; however, what we face at present is false interpretation of the historical events and the desire of the historians to represent certain historical events in the light which is better for their personal needs and strivings. In fact, any historian plays the role of the intermediary between the past and the present - his main aim is to make the public familiar with the events of the past based on the evidence he has at his disposal; what we see now is that many historians have gone too far, trying to become the people, who have the right to interpret this past, often distorting it. I would agree, that history gives us lessons to learn, but due to the general lack of understanding of the historical events, we often have to rely on what famous historians say; their opinions often appear to be contradictory and misleading. As far as we don't really tend to go deep into history for finding our own proofs for this or that historical assumption, we mostly believe in what we hear about the lessons from history, and how they should be used.
'Because history is a world of detailed, specific events, the idea of 'general laws' of history is self-contradictory. Of course, historical actors should be understood as obeying the general laws independently derived by other disciplines, such as the law of gravity or the law of diminishing marginal returns. But history itself can generate no such laws, since they would involve abstracting away all of the details of events, in other words, abstracting away the very subject matter of history.' (Durant & Durant 1997, p. 49)
What I wanted to say by this quotation is that history in general cannot be reduced to some generalizations, as it is often done. If there are any real lessons we have to learn from the past, these lessons should be tied to specific events, and not to some general assertions. We can't say that wars are the most important lessons to learn not to make new wars happen - each war is different in its essence, and each should be considered separately, in order to learn the lessons and to apply them to the requirements of the modern time.
There is often a confusion between the historical past and the practical past - historical past is merely a statement of the events which took place in the past, while practical past refers to the question of 'what do these past events mean to me right now' (Fink 2001, p. 236) This is about what we talk here, and about what we have to make a reasonable conclusion. I would agree that the skills of the professional historian would give him enough knowledge to judge the events of the past, but I can ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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