History, Observations.

Why read history?

-PD-US,

Portrait of a Scholar, Domenico Fetti, 17th cent.. PD-US.

Adam Gopnik recently asked: Does it help to know history?  Here is the first part of his answer:

The best argument for reading history is not that it will show us the right thing to do in one case or the other, but rather that it will show us why even doing the right thing rarely works out. The advantage of having a historical sense is not that it will lead you to some quarry of instructions, the way that Superman can regularly return to the Fortress of Solitude to get instructions from his dad, but that it will teach you that no such crystal cave exists. What history generally “teaches” is how hard it is for anyone to control it, including the people who think they’re making it.

The full essay can be found here.

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