Learning from history

by CarlD

Totally going on the World History syllabus.

Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history. But what experience and history teach is this, – that peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone. Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help. It is useless to revert to similar circumstances in the Past. The pallid shades of memory struggle in vain with the life and freedom of the Present. Looked at in this light, nothing can be shallower than the oft-repeated appeal to Greek and Roman examples during the French Revolution. Nothing is more diverse than the genius of those nations and that of our times. Hegel, Philosophy of History (1830-31)

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4 Responses to “Learning from history”

  1. In the words of a fine fine band, “Klimt und Hegel / kannten die Regeln”. At least, that’s what I think he says.

  2. Great, great tune. I sure hope that’s what he’s saying!

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