Friday, October 27, 2023


"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." > Winston Churchill

There's a delicious pyscho-narcissism in those words, which one can take as either rather admirable or the opposite, depending on one's position in the culture wars.

History, of course, is as much about readers as writers.

It's a cultural construct we are told, and so too, to some extent is the very notion of linear time.

As ever, we should not take this to signify that its meanings are wholly subjective.

I do worry when people start talking about things which happened before their grandparents’ time in an overtly emotional register. This seems to be an affectation which has more to do with contemporary mores than any willingness to engage with the past on its own terms.

Historians tend to prefer a more dispassionate approach to things which occurred beyond the living memory of one’s own immediate ‘tribe’.

I also think it is important not to get distracted by apparent linearity in such a way that we go on to assume that something which occurred say 150 years ago is more important than something which occurred 500 years ago.

There are cumulative effects to discuss, but again, once we venture into the void beyond the 'solar system' of grandparents' time, the environment is 'smooth', and all moments of what we think of subjectively as elapsed time, should be treated as equals, on the same level. 


No comments: