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History Does Not Repeat Itself

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posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:05 PM
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There is a quote thrown around perhaps haphazardly, often attributed to George Santayana, that states:



“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”


He never said such a thing. The quote in question was actually “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, which in the context of Santayana’s “The Life of Reason”, was in reference to retaining one’s own personal experience, one’s own past, and not the entirety of the past we like to call “history”.

Of course, history does not repeat itself or it wouldn’t be history. At best, present events might resemble historic events, but given the drastic difference in time, setting, and the elements involved, there is nothing similar in any concrete way, but only according to one’s own fantasy and hindsight.

With different conditions, the results can never be expected to be the same, and to derive conclusions in this fashion is the mark of unscrupulous thinking.

This is a sort of fallacious reasoning revealed in the current political rhetoric, with people comparing Trump to Hitler and Sanders to Stalin. The logic here, a non-sequitur connected by no more than silly string, insinuates we should put a stop to their rise for fear of what happened in other countries and other times with other peoples and other political, economic and social conditions which bear little resemblance to the ones now occurring, save for some superficial ones.

Such an argument, once used, isn't any presentation of facts, but an admission of irrationality.




posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:20 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne


At best, present events might resemble historic events, but given the drastic difference in time, setting, and the elements involved, there is nothing similar in any concrete way, but only according to one’s own fantasy and hindsight.

Obviously don't study history, to you its 'fantasy'.

A more apt description is 'history rhymes'.

Of course it doesn't repeat in technology or names of people and places, but politics, religion, conquering and subjugation occur over and again, along the same lines of power and greed. As well as geographically, the earth hasn't changed.
edit on 29-2-2016 by intrptr because: quote and clarity



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:22 PM
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Typically, you will hear this in reference to patterns that can easily be seen if you are familiar with how they appeared previously in history. Or the past... or whatever. We're not terribly novel creatures, but tend to gravitate cyclically toward certain ways of thinking. "The world would be a better place if only we all..." or "All of today's problems are caused by..." tend to lead us down paths toward solutions. The voices that come out espousing one solution or another, or decrying one position or another, will typically fit patterns that similar viewpoints took in previous cycles of certain ways of thinking, and so you can say (with some certainty) if this idea continues gaining support from this kind of person, then Hitler. Or if more people start to believe that [ethnic group] is responsible for the current economic hardships being felt around the globe, then Genocide.

A lot of the time, it's used to warn of potential bad consequences of current trends... but it is also useful for guiding trends toward better outcomes than previous cycles. If current trend is heading toward "Hitler" then invoke a previous trend where a similar situation was defused by [whatever a previous dodge around the Hitler outcome was].

I'm no great student of history myself (as you can see by my generalities above), but there is a simplicity to this statement (regardless of its correct wording) that does match to reality. You can predict the future if you know the past. And you can draw from the past to make solutions that don't suck quite so much in the future (or that suck more, if that's your goal).
edit on 29/2/2016 by CrikeyMagnet because: fixed a typo



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:36 PM
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a reply to: intrptr


Obviously don't study history, to you its 'fantasy'.

A more apt description is 'history rhymes'.

Of course it doesn't repeat in technology or names of people and places, but politics, religion, conquering and subjugation occur over and again, along the same lines of power and greed. As well as geographically, the earth hasn't changed.


I never said history was fantasy. Misrepresenting someone's argument, however, is.

History doesn't repeat in anything, let alone in the avenues you mentioned. The settings, the actors, the occurrences, the results are all different. How could you say they are the same? By referring to your imagination.
edit on 29-2-2016 by TheSubversiveOne because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:42 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne


I never said history was fantasy.


(Coughs), yes you did…


given the drastic difference in time, setting, and the elements involved, there is nothing similar in any concrete way, but only according to one’s own fantasy and hindsight.

Emphasis added.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:43 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

You just proved yourself wrong. No need to emphasize anything but your misrepresentation:



given the drastic difference in time, setting, and the elements involved, there is nothing similar in any concrete way, but only according to one’s own fantasy and hindsight.



Obviously don't study history, to you its 'fantasy'.

edit on 29-2-2016 by TheSubversiveOne because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:48 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

Yah, okay whatever. Empires and Kings rise and fall, armies march and millions die over and again and that doesn't repeat.

Got it.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 03:54 PM
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a reply to: intrptr




Yah, okay whatever. Empires and Kings rise and fall, armies march and millions die over and again and that doesn't repeat.

Got it.


Maybe in your imagination.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 04:18 PM
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a reply to: CrikeyMagnet




I'm no great student of history myself (as you can see by my generalities above), but there is a simplicity to this statement (regardless of its correct wording) that does match to reality. You can predict the future if you know the past. And you can draw from the past to make solutions that don't suck quite so much in the future (or that suck more, if that's your goal).


I'm speaking specifically of history. For instance, the history of one country is nothing like the history of another. One war, empire, or their dealings, has little in common with another save for a few insignificant and superficial claims.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 04:29 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

But if people with similar worldviews are presented with similar incidents, or similar circumstances, it stands to reason that they will react similarly. It's not all or nothing, but rather like a guide. It's definitely not insignificant.

I would even suggest that the rise of most empires has followed some fairly predictable paths, to the extent that if you were to take 100 different empires throughout history, you'd see 5 or 6 common chains of events. Some may be unique... but for the most part, human behaviours are not unique in any given situation. They are at least a little bit predictable (except for the occasions where they are not... but then those ones tend to become new templates if they are successful).



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 04:45 PM
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a reply to: CrikeyMagnet




But if people with similar worldviews are presented with similar incidents, or similar circumstances, it stands to reason that they will react similarly. It's not all or nothing, but rather like a guide. It's definitely not insignificant.

I would even suggest that the rise of most empires has followed some fairly predictable paths, to the extent that if you were to take 100 different empires throughout history, you'd see 5 or 6 common chains of events. Some may be unique... but for the most part, human behaviours are not unique in any given situation. They are at least a little bit predictable (except for the occasions where they are not... but then those ones tend to become new templates if they are successful).


These general commonalities are always made in hindsight and after the fact by historians, who, being that they are human, will tend to recognize patterns. I think you're right that a certain amount of predictability is possible given similar, very similar conditions, and equally similar results could be witnessed. But the only thing that is similar is the thoughts regarding the events, which exist in the historians mind. The events themselves are drastically different, let alone instances of history repeating itself.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

I kind of think that, for someone to do something, there must have already existed the potential to do it.

That is, within the "forces", there must be "information" that must precede execution, as you cannot do the impossible.

So, there is nothing new under the sun, inventions are really just discoveries, physicality is the manifestation of not just the will which preceded it, but also the conception of that will, etc. and so forth.

Take your opening post for example: what are the words within it, if not your translation of your will. And so, the words already existed within your will, you simply manifested/translated/measured them.
edit on 2/29/2016 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 06:30 PM
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Location, location, location. Another red-letter day.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 07:19 PM
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It's a euphemism, it's not literal. No one is saying that things play out exactly the same, step for step, they are just saying the same patterns emerge over time.

I would think this would be obvious.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 07:56 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

Despite the ongoing controversy in this thread, do you happen to notice how quotes seemed to change slowly over time? Not really losing the value of what's being said, but still changing?

Ever wonder how much quotes have actually changed since their verbal conception?



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 10:09 PM
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People don't change much over the centuries so they tend to have the same kind of motivations and react similar ways to similar stimuli from the environment.

No big surprise that we are trapped in our own self generated foolishness.

I see it play out endlessly in certain types of ATS posts.

Kev



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 11:21 PM
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originally posted by: 3NL1GHT3N3D1
It's a euphemism, it's not literal. No one is saying that things play out exactly the same, step for step, they are just saying the same patterns emerge over time.

I would think this would be obvious.


And I thought the meaning of "euphemism" was obvious.

Care to furnish us of an example of a pattern emerging over time?



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 10:59 AM
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There is only 1 way to Look at the History which is repeating itself.
It is repeating only because a faulty choice was made before, presented again, so a better choice can be made.
Forgiveness is the way which you should choose.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 11:03 AM
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Over historical times, once every 20 years or so, when a new generation is of military age, Europe went to war, 2 cities in Italy even having a war over a damn bucket, if that isn't 'wash, rinse, repeat' I don't know what is.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 02:39 PM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

People believing in gods and killing people in the name of said gods, kingdoms rising and falling, religions being created and being replaced with the new model after so many years.

Those are but a few examples. No one has ever said that history repeats itself word for word, action for action, event for event. This entire thread is based on a false presumption. You not understanding what the saying means is no one's fault but your own.



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