Monday, May 17, 2021

What is history?

What is history? The best answer is the despairing line that Macbeth speaks when he hears of Lady Macbeth's death: “It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” Emotional motivations, prejudices, jealousies, and chance events play a far bigger role in history than political, economic, and intellectual considerations. Large patterns and regularities are precisely the kind of things which cannot be found in the procession of historical events. We can learn lessons from history, but these lessons are useless in predicting the future.

No comments: