Sunday, 9 December 2018

Article on Those who do not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

Article on Those who do not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

Article on Those who do not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

There is a famous quote - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, given by George Santayana (philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist) in 1905. However, in a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill changed the quote slightly when he said (paraphrased), "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” This quote is hard to disagree with. It is evident from the fact that wars ended with confiscatory terms of surrender inevitably breed more wars. Brutal dictatorships are the inescapable consequence of revolts that gave an individual consummate power. This holds true for individuals as well. Couples who do not learn from their fights, break up and those who don't learn from their mistakes ever grow. History helps us understand what it means to be human. One can't fully understand anything unless they have background information.

Renowned novelist Mark Twain proposed a modification to the above mentioned proverb. He said, 'history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes’. Although history does not repeat itself in the sense that exactly the same things happen over and over again, it does have a recurring theme. The most widely accepted theory is that it was mentioned by Karl Marx who said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." But, is it farce - some stupid, clichéd line or is it a fact that holds the statement together? How true is the statement in today's context?

Like when we eat ice cream too quickly, we get a headache and so next time we slow down. Although history is full of cautions, we don't really pay heed to them. There are ample examples where people made the same mistakes as their predecessors and suffered similar consequences. These cataclysms are more saddening since these were so preventable.

History is inescapable. It studies the past and the legacies of the past in the present. It is such an important subject and plays a very vital role when it comes to shaping of our society. History helps us understand what clued-up the actions of those before us. Sometimes we try to understand why certain things happened in the past, or why particular individuals who greatly affected the course of history acted in the manner that they did. It helps us understand the reasoning that informed such actions and thus we can try to use the lessons learnt to do better.

After repeated wars between Germany and France, France still demanded that confiscatory terms surrender be imposed on Germany after The First World War in 1914. As Germany unwillingly signed the Treaty of Versailles because they considered it too harsh, the people voted to power a who promised to rip up the Treaty of Versailles; Adolf Hitler. Then The Second World War happened in 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany following Germany's invasion of Poland.
Hitler also had an example of Napoleon's defeat in front of him. Napoleon is well known for his collapse after attack on Russia and it is astonishing that Hitler would do the same mistake. The reason for defeat of both is that they attacked Russia when winter was coming in. The Russians are more adapted to winters than the foreign armies and thus in both cases, several people in foreign armies lost their lives to cold.

Another example of history repeating itself is of RMS Titanic, Ninety years prior to sinking of Titanic, there was the sinking of Tek Sing in the South China Sea. Tek Sing was a cargo ship sailing from China and Jakarta along with 1600 emigrants. The Tek Sing sank after crashing into a small barrier reef, resulting in massive loss of life. Tek Sing is occasionally referred to as "Titanic of the East" as both Titanic and Tek Sing committed serious flaws prior to beginning their voyages. Just like Tek Sing, Titanic too did the same mistake of not carrying enough life boats. Furthermore, tek Sing was speeding its way towards the destination and so was Titanic, moving more rapidly than it should have been.

Decades later, in December 1987, the ferry Dona Paz repeated similar mistake. It took off from Tachloban in the Philippines for Manila for Christmas holidays. Dona Paz was overloaded with 4,000 passengers on a ship built to carry only about 1,400. Disaster struck in the Tablas Strait when the ferry collided with an oil tanker, causing a massive explosion that quickly sank both ships. This was the world's peacetime maritime disaster and has even been called "Asia's Titanic".

So, why do we need to study history? The answer - to gain access to the laboratory of human experience; its only after we study it well, we attain some usable habits of mind as well as data about the forces that affect our lives. Studying history can help one develop literally "profitable" skills however, its study must not be pinned down to the narrowest utilitarianism. It also helps build experience in dealing with and assessing various kinds of evidence and thus drawing most accurate conclusions. This skill can also be applied to information encountered in everyday life.

By looking at history, we have a better understanding of how to live in the world. We can study patterns in international relations and learn more about other countries, the way they developed and what's important to them. Countries can learn from history about how to prevent a war by studying historical personages who are seen to be very similar in their deeds to other historical personages. Learning the lessons of the past allows you to build personal testimony on solid bedrock of obedience, faith and the witness of the Spirit.

Each passing moment weaves a tapestry for the modern world. We are standing upon the ruins of the old world and looking forward into the future. Besides no civilization could exist without the past, each word we speak or write reverberates with the voices of those long gone and forgotten. Our speech or language is also imperative to our history and our very own existence. Forgetting one's history, one the other hand, is similar to a ship without a rudder, a journey without a destination and a human being without a navel.



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