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Lost to History

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posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:49 PM
I thought of this thread while posting the following quote on another thread:

"Surely every human being ought to attain to the dignity of the unit. Surely it is worth while to be one, and to feel that the census of the universe would be incomplete without counting you. Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and all depths; that there are no walls or fences, or prohibited places, or sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought; that your intellect owes no allegiance to any being, human or divine; that you hold all in fee, and upon no condition, and by no tenure, whatsoever; that in the world of mind you are relieved from all personal dictation, and from the ignorant tyranny of majorities. Surely it is worth something to feel that there are no priests, no popes, no parties, no governments, no kings, no gods, to whom your intellect can be compelled to pay a reluctant homage. Surely it is a joy to know that all the cruel ingenuity of bigotry can devise no prison, no dungeon, no cell in which for one instant to confine a thought; that ideas cannot be dislocated by racks, nor crushed in iron boots, nor burned with fire. Surely it is sublime to think that the brain is a castle, and that within its curious bastions and winding halls the soul, in spite of all worlds and all beings, is the supreme sovereign of itself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

I think many of you are unfamiliar with this quote and the author. I wrote in the other thread that Ingersoll was a fascinating man with an enormous body of written work. If you look up any of his works or simply his quotes I think you will agree that this was one person that was worthy of general study by high school students.

Why is it that I only became acquainted with Ingersoll after 50 years and only by way of the Internet? I think I had an average public education. Was I not paying attention that day? Well an argument could be made there folks but for the sake of this thread let's just say I was always attentive. In history class I know that was the truth. I think for most of you ATS denizens that was/is also the case. If not why are we always rehashing historical events and accounts? Would there be an ATS without our historical fascination?

The fact is many worthy people are not studied. In the case of Ingersoll, he was extremely well received in his lifetime but I think his opposition to organized religion was what kept him out of the high school history books. At least my high school history books. What are your thoughts on this?

Do you know of a historical figure that you have similar feelings toward? Someone you think is worthy of study by everyone? Someone that has essentially been "lost to history"? And if so, why do you think they have been ignored?

I look forward to your responses.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 02:10 PM
I'd never heard of him. So, I goggled him just now. Seems like he was popular and his work printed posthumously. I guess we wouldn't learn about him unless you took an American philosophy class, and even then, I wonder if they'd cover this guy.

Looks like he had some radical thoughts (for the time), and was critical of religion, favoring agnosticism (probably why he's not taught in public schools).

I have no lost to history picks. But, think this thread is interesting.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 02:57 PM
Apparently there is a lot of lost history.
Try the gold under Peak Victorino and some of the history
partially revealed.

But where did the gold come from.
Mines, yes.

There is the mystery of King Salomon's Mines.
Some one once said we know but he was wrong.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 11:28 AM
reply to post by Hemisphere

Perhaps less attention is paid to him today because the battles he soldiered in are won? Freedom of thought and discussion are pretty uncontroversial goods these days, and people may proclaim themselves agnostic - or even atheist - without being cast out of society for doing so. These things were very different in Ingersoll's day, though even then he was able to hold public office, follow a successful career as a lawyer and charge people $1 a pop to hear him speak.

I confess I'd never heard of the man till I read your thread (so thank you for that), but it wasn't hard to find out about him on the web: there's a very informative Wikipedia entry about him, and you can read his 'complete works' online here.

As to the extract you quote, it is certainly a grand thing to be able to think whatever thoughts one likes, uncensored by notions of propriety and blasphemy. Genuinely free thought is probably beyond human ability, though, I fancy: our ideas must always be framed within limits imposed by the evolved structure of our brains.

posted on May, 18 2009 @ 10:04 AM
Pamie and Astyanax, thanks for checking out Ingersoll. Yes, I had mentioned in the original posting that he railed against organized religion. That is surely what kept him out of the school books and yet Lincoln reportedly had radical thoughts on organized religion but having been a president his more radical expressions have either mellowed through historical interpretation or been ignored if they don't fit the prescribed story line.

"He (Lincoln) was an avowed and open infidel, and sometimes bordered on Atheism...He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I ever heard." - John T. Stuart, Lincoln's first law partner

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." - Joseph Lewis quoting Lincoln in a 1924 speech in New York

I just found the following quote regarding Ingersoll from the Council on Secular Humanism. It backs my own contention:

Robert Green Ingersoll is too little known today. Yet he was the foremost orator and political speechmaker of late 19th century America -- perhaps the best-known American of the post-Civil War era.

The article goes on:

Between 1865 and 1899 Ingersoll crisscrossed the country on more than a dozen speaking tours. He would pack the largest theaters of the day at the then-substantial admission of $1 apiece. Ingersoll had numerous three- to four-hour lectures committed to memory. No human being had been seen and heard by more Americans - or would be until the advent of motion pictures, radio, and television. His subjects ranged from Shakespeare and Burns to religion, from political and moral issues to the lives of famous patriots and scientists. Among his best-known speeches were "The Gods," "Ghosts," "Humboldt," "Shakespeare," and "What Must We Do To Be Saved?"

Ingersoll was beloved by contemporary leaders in all walks of life. Among his admirers were president James Garfield, poet Walt Whitman, General Ulysses S. Grant, industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, inventor Thomas Edison, and preacher Henry Ward Beecher. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was especially impressed by Ingersoll. After hearing Ingersoll speak, he wrote his wife Olivia Langdon Clemens: "What an organ is human speech when it is employed by a master!"

Apparently I'm in good company in admiring Ingersoll. Here's the link to the full article:

Robert Green Ingersoll

I don't agree Astyanax that all of "the battles he soldiered in are won". There continues to be friction between church and state and the likes of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Robert T. Pennock, Julia Sweeney, Robert M. Price and others have taken up the gauntlet, some purposefully and others with reluctance. Ingersoll had better qualifications to address the issues than these modern people. He had "been there and done that" where as one could argue that these people are standing on his shoulders and are now fighting a mostly academic battle. And so Astyanax, my point is we study old soldiers, why not this one? Yes, there is little to no money to be gained from atheism and perhaps that's the rub and why we don't correct ande include him in academic study. I think you would agree he was far more than a philosopher and yet we study philosphers.

I hope that you've both been able to see some of his other quotes. Aside from his positions he was "a master" of speech as Clemens stated. He was often, in my opinion, poetic in his expression and perhaps that alone made him worthy of study.

Love is the only bow on Life's dark cloud. It is the morning and the evening star. It shines upon the babe, and sheds its radiance on the quiet tomb. It is the mother of art, inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher. It is the air and light of every heart -- builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody -- for music is the voice of love. Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods. - Robert Green Ingersoll

Perhaps he was one of, if not the first person to make secular thought palatable to the general public.

posted on May, 18 2009 @ 10:20 AM
reply to post by TeslaandLyne

TeslaandLyne, King Solomon's Mines are surely worthy of their own thread on ATS.

Unfortunately, Solomon's death was followed by the division of his empire, and Israel and Judah were formed. The power of the old kingdom waned rapidly and not long after, Jerusalem was attacked by an Egyptian pharaoh and the temple was looted and destroyed. Solomon's wealth disappeared, and with it vanished any evidence that might have solved the riddle of the origins of his gold. - Todd Frye

Here's the article I found that in:

King Solomon's Mines

How about your namesake, "Tesla", as someone that has been at least somewhat "lost to history"? Yes, we ATS denizens are familiar with Tesla but I for one never studied him in public school. How many people on the street know anything about Tesla? And yet we were all too familiar with Edison. Was it that it would have been too hard to control and profit off of Tesla's designs?

posted on May, 18 2009 @ 11:05 AM
reply to post by Hemisphere

Here's a quote and an article with an interesting side-line to this thread:

Knowledge of historical facts has been used as a screening device in many societies, from China to the United States, and the habit is still with us to some extent. Unfortunately, this use can encourage mindless memorization—a real but not very appealing aspect of the discipline. - Peter N. Stearns, American Historical Association

Here's the article:

Why Study History?

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