Offerings to the Gods of History

As far as studying the past goes, well it is inevitably fun, interesting, engaging. Piecing together ingots of knowledge in order to repaint an image our past lives is tiresome and tireless work at the same time.

Thoughts about how people used to live take me away from thoughts about how people live today. However, I see that with all the syntheses that have been done over the last century of historical study, the narratives are similar to science fiction. Science fiction is usually regarded as an expression of the society we may yearn to be, or fear we may become. Historical fiction and history, is the same but in reverse, it is the expression of the society we were, but are no longer. And so, I wishfully think that studying the past does mean understanding our present. Is it not obvious, when archaeologists become main characters in both either travelling to the past, or travelling to the future. Our job as students of the past is to translate one society for another to understand. However, that is a one-way interaction because, well, I cannot inform Herodotus or Plato about the 21st century (yet?). Anyway, what would I tell them? If I a met Sappho the poet and he asked me to tell him about the poetry of the 21st century, well sadly, I could recite a single one to him by memory.

I suppose, that if we had never developed a desire to commit lives, thoughts, victories and defeats to archives and documents. And then, commit our lives to going through the banal as well as the science from ancient times? What does it bring on to this age? What is being kept?History is fun as a child, and then now seeing more and more how absolutely nonsensical, unguided and free-form life can be. Maybe, cling-on to that idea that we inherited all these studies from people who have thought that this project of writing and history will ultimately lead to the improvement of humanity that sought to eradicate hunger, cure diseases, discover nature and the cosmos, and generate societies where humans can exist in peace. Perhaps, archaeology slots itself there? A grand project, of which our offerings to the muse of history are the tomes of our present lives, and our study of the lives of the past.

 

 

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