Herodotus says, Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects.
Thus, by science I mean, first of all, a worldview giving primacy to reason and observation and a methodology aimed at acquiring accurate knowledge of the natural and social world. This methodology is characterized, above all else, by the critical spirit: namely, the commitment to the incessant testing of assertions through observations and/or experiments — the more stringent the tests, the better — and to revising or discarding those theories that fail the test. One corollary of the critical spirit is fallibilism: namely, the understanding that all our empirical knowledge is tentative, incomplete and open to revision in the light of new evidence or cogent new arguments (though, of course, the most well-established aspects of scientific knowledge are unlikely to be discarded entirely).. . . I stress that my use of the term 'science' is not limited to the natural sciences, but includes investigations aimed at acquiring accurate knowledge of factual matters relating to any aspect of the world by using rational empirical methods analogous to those employed in the natural sciences. (Please note the limitation to questions of fact. I intentionally exclude from my purview questions of ethics, aesthetics, ultimate purpose, and so forth.) Thus, 'science' (as I use the term) is routinely practiced not only by physicists, chemists and biologists, but also by historians, detectives, plumbers and indeed all human beings in (some aspects of) our daily lives. (Of course, the fact that we all practice science from time to time does not mean that we all practice it equally well, or that we practice it equally well in all areas of our lives.)
If the surprise outcome of the recent UK referendum - on whether to leave or remain in the European Union - teaches us anything, it is that supposedly worthy displays of democracy in action can actually do more harm than good. Witness a nation now more divided; an intergenerational schism in the making; both a governing and opposition party torn to shreds from the inside; infinitely more complex issues raised than satisfactory solutions provided. It begs the question 'Was it really all worth it' ?
History, too, has a penchant for giving birth to itself over and over again, and those whom it appoints agents of change and progress do not always accept their destinies willingly.
Indeed, a parallel history of Europe could be written which viewed family life and regular work as the essential Continental motor of civilization. Then war and revolution would need to be seen by historians as startling, sick departures from that norm of a kind that require serious explanation, rather than viewing periods of gentle introversy as mere tiresome interludes before the next thrill-packed bloodbath.
where actual evidence had been a bit sparse he had, in the best traditions of the keen ethnic historian, inferred from revealed self-evident wisdom* *Made it upand extrapolated from associated sources** **had read a lot of stuff that other people had made up, too.
Caution in handling generally accepted opinions that claim to explain whole trends of history is especially important for the historian of modern times, because the last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.
Oh, my dear Vimes, history changes all the time. It is constantly being re-examined and re-evaluated, otherwise how would we be able to keep historians occupied? We can't possibly allow people with their sort of minds to walk around with time on their hands.
All historical writing, even the most honest, is unconsciously subjective, since every age is bound, in spite of itself, to make the dead perform whatever tricks it finds necessary for its own peace of mind.
A historian tries to understand what happened, why it happened, what was the context, who did what, and what assumptions led them to act as they did. A historian customarily displays a certain diffidence about trying to influence events, knowing that unanticipated developments often lead to unintended consequences.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, historians have become both more accurate and more honest—fractionally more brave, one might say—about that 'other' cleansing of the regions and peoples that were ground to atoms between the upper and nether millstones of Hitlerism and Stalinism. One of the most objective chroniclers is Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University. In his view, it is still 'Operation Reinhardt,' or the planned destruction of Polish Jewry, that is to be considered as the centerpiece of what we commonly call the Holocaust, in which of the estimated 5.7 million Jewish dead, 'roughly three million were prewar Polish citizens.' We should not at all allow ourselves to forget the millions of non-Jewish citizens of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and other Slav territories who were also massacred. But for me the salient fact remains that anti-Semitism was the regnant, essential, organizing principle of all the other National Socialist race theories. It is thus not to be thought of as just one prejudice among many.
It follows that the one thing we should not do to the men and women of past time, and particularly if they ghost through to us as larger than life, is to take them out of their historical contexts. To do so is to run the risk of turning them into monsters, whom we can denounce for our (frequently political) motives—an insidious game, because we are condemning in their make-up that which is likely to belong to a whole social world, the world that helped to fashion them and that is deviously reflected or distorted in them. Censure of this sort is the work of petty moralists and propagandists, not historians (p. 5).
Even so, I think historians have more to offer than perspective on our present woes. The foreign country we call the past also lets us look beyond the horizons of what is, to see what could be.
It is not acceptable that election winners interpret history. History should be left to historians who have a difficult task. They should try to avoid a one-sided or personal interpretation of history. Furthermore, some collective factors (such as national enthusiasm) may influence objectivity that is crucial for the interpretation of historical events.
The most striking difference between the ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of the argument at the expense of truth, whereas the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality. In other words, one destroyed the dignity of human thought whereas the others destroy the dignity of human action. The old manipulators of logic were the concern of the philosopher, whereas the modern manipulators of facts stand in the way of the historian. For history itself is destroyed, and its comprehensibility—based upon the fact that it is enacted by men and therefore can be understood by men—is in danger, whenever facts are no longer held to be part and parcel of the past and present world, and are misused to prove this or that opinion.
The historian without his facts is rootless and futile, the facts without their historian are dead and meaningless.
An historian is a kind detective in search of the fact — remote or otherwise - that brings to a set of events apparently unconnected with each other, the link that unites them, their justification, their logic.You cannot imagine what great delights this profession affords. It’s as if, in every incunablum, consumed by worms and steeped in boredom, in every inarticulate scrawl, in every collection of forgotten chronicles, there presides a mischievous sprite, winking at you, who at the appropriate time confers on you your reward in the form of renewed wonder.
The historian’s task is not to disrupt for the sake of it, but it is to tell what is almost always an uncomfortable story and explain why the discomfort is part of the truth we need to live well and live properly. A well organized society is one in which we know the truth about ourselves collectively, not one in which we tell pleasant lies about ourselves.
Everyone knows history is written by the winners, but that cliche misses a crucial detail: Over time, the winners are always the progressives. Conservatism can only win in the short term, because society cannot stop evolving (and social evolution inevitably dovetails with the agenda of those who see change as an abstract positive). It might take seventy years, but it always happens eventually. Serious historians are, almost without exception, self-styled progressives. Radical views--even the awful ones--improve with age.
To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.
History is so comprehensive and detailed. I couldn't be a history student. I thought there was a time when I couldn't be a history maker, because of my limited understanding of what that meant. Today, thinking about the passing of Julian Bond and a wonderful conversation with a woman who has influenced so much, I think we all are history makers. All of our names will not be as known as Mr. Bond's or in books, but our names will be on someone's tongue and our memories will be in someone's heart, and we will all be a part of someone's personal story. We have a unique opportunity at this very second to change how we affect someone's life as living history and historians. Flaws and all. Yep.
Writers and other artists are mostly just historians, produced by nature to describe, decipher and thus historically represent the universe.
It is the vice of the journalist, I once wrote, to think that history can always be reduced to experience, and of the scholar to think that experience can always be reduced to history. History and experience are far more frequently out of sync, or running on parallel tracks.
Historians will have to face the fact that natural selection determined the evolution of cultures in the same manner as it did that of species.
When it is impossible to stretch the very elastic threads of historical ratiocination any farther, when actions are clearly contrary to all that humanity calls right or even just, the historians produce a saving conception of ‘greatness.’ ‘Greatness,’ it seems, excludes the standards of right and wrong. For the ‘great’ man nothing is wrong, there is no atrocity for which a ‘great’ man can be blamed.
The rate spread of EBOLA VIRUS in West Africa, is big tragedy. It is a fatal disease in the history of the world. Intensive education (formal and informal approaches) of the citizens of African can help prevent the spread. International cooperation is urgently needed to combat the EBOLA virus.
Commanders and historians are the people who discuss wars; I was in the infantry, and most of the time I did not know where I was or what I was doing except that I was obeying orders and trying not to be killed in any of the variety of horrible ways open to me.
It was always the best way of finding out information; just go and ask a woman who keeps her eyes and ears open and who likes to talk. It always worked. It was no use asking men; they simply were not interested enough in other people and the ordinary doings of people. That is why the real historians of Africa had always been the grandmothers, who remembered the lineage and the stories that went with it.
Sandra L. West and Aberjhani have compiled an encyclopedia that makes an important contribution to our need to know more about one of modern America’s truly significant artistic and cultural movements. It helps us to acknowledge the complexity of African American life at a time when the nation’s culture was taking on a recognizable shape, when race was becoming less of a crushing burden and more of a challenge to progressive people and their ideals, and when cities and their inhabitants symbolized the end of the past and the seductiveness of the new.
Insurance companies sell what might happen tomorrow. Historians sell what certainly happened yesterday.
After 15 years of work I have achieved as a common German soldier and merely with my fanatical willpower the unity of the German nation and have freed it from the death sentence of Versailles.
History is simply a piece of paper covered with print the main thing is still to make history not to write it.