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 Post subject: history
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 7:48 am 
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those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it[quote][/quote]


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:35 am 
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You are probably thinking of:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in which instinct has learned nothing from experience.
~.~George Santayana (1863-1952)
Life Of Reason (1905), Vol. 1, Chap. 12, P.284.
http://wwics.si.edu/OUTREACH/WQ/WQSELECT/SANTA.HTM


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 1:53 am 
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Why do I remember this (from schooldays) as "those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned ......."?

In its most common form it is presented alongside H Ford's assertion "History is bunk". Discuss.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 6:02 am 
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That sounds vaguely familiar to me too, but I can't find anything worded that way. Hmmm.
Quote:
"We learn from history that we do not learn from history."
-- Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

"Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history."
-- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we made today."
-- Henry Ford (1863 - 1947), Interview in Chicago Tribune, May 25th, 1916

"Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes."
-- Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 8:35 am 
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Ford's quote is always used out of context. The genesis of the quote is that a Chicago Tribune reporter pressed Ford on his disarmament views. Ford said, "What do we care what happened 500 or 1,000 years ago?...History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only hstory that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today."

Of course, the colorful word "bunk" took over and the rest is history (no pun intended!).


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 11:36 am 
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That is interesting to know the background to Ford's remarks.

The expression "history is bunk" also appears:

"History is bunk."
~Spoken by the Controller, in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
http://www.thetoybox.org/~eeyore/quotations.html

His masterpiece, Brave New World (1932), was written before Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin rose to power. Huxley set the chilling novel six hundred years in the future and created a "utilitarian totalitarianism" society of biological engineering which sought to provide the maximum happiness by limiting intelligence and freedom. "History is bunk," he wrote and gave his characters what he called a SOMA pill to relieve them of their cares and anxieties..
http://www.dailycelebrations.com/072701.htm


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 1:47 pm 
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Interesting. When you consider the profits made by the Ford Motor Corporation during WW2 (not least from Ford Deutschland), is it little wonder our Henry preferred us to forget the lessons of history - kinda like Lockheed, General Dynamics, GMC etc right now?!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 1:51 pm 
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P.S. I share Nostromo's appreciation of "Brave New World" - Orwell's "1984" always struck me as having the same prescience .....


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 4:13 pm 
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The "History is bunk" quotation in Brave New World is an intentional allusion to Ford. In fact, Huxley imagines the new world dates from Ford -- "Before Ford" and "After Ford" replace "BC" and "AD" in the world's timeline because society is based on mass consumption--all moral teachings promote ever-increasing consumerism.

There's a good recent movie adaptation of the novel I saw recently on the SciFi channel. It changes Huxley's dark ending to a happy one, but otherwise is true to the story.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 4:24 pm 
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Thank you Luna - now, I wonder which cardboard box holds my Grammar (US: High) School reading ..... !


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2002 4:46 pm 
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Of all the books I read in "Junior High," Brave New World was the one that stuck with me the most. I re-read it a few years ago, along with Fahrenheit 451--just great stuff. And prescient, as you said, de Vipont. I fear we've begun to live both.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2002 2:11 am 
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Fear not, Luna - smart move that, taking yourself off to the coast of the Carolinas! - imagine what it feels like being stuck in the epicentre of Ground Zero - Europe, I mean!)

"Go tell Rumsfeld et al, thou who passest by .... "


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