Thursday, 10 August 2017

Understanding the future

How important is the past for our self-understanding, and for the understanding of a possible future?

“The English historian B H Liddell Hart wrote in Why Don’t We Learn from History? (1944): ‘There is no excuse for anyone who is not illiterate if he is less than 3,000 years old in mind.’ This is less an admonition to learn from specific events in the past, and more a reminder that our own mighty civilisation exists at a specific time and place within the grander sweep of history. The Roman rhetorician Marcus Tullius Cicero, writing in the first century BCE, put an even finer point on it: ‘To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.’”


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