George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” He was right. Here’s the hardest part, however. It’s really hard to remember the past accurately. Let’s face the facts. Our earliest recollections weren’t exactly recorded neutrally, were they. Studying the ancient Greeks, for instance, we’re relying on one main man – Herodotus. He did a great job recording so much Greek history, don’t get me wrong, but he was only one man with one perspective. Hard to see it all. Today, we have an opposite problem. Everyone has a perspective and platform, it seems. Yet it doesn’t seem to have done much to our biases or broadened our perspectives, does it?
Today, I’m studying another lengthy rant about our country’s founding. This ones’ titled Valiant Ambition, authored by Nathaniel Philbrick. I’m a hundred or so pages in and he’s already caused me to think, or rethink, what I thought I knew about our past as America. He’s bringing a new perspective to Benedict Arnold’s role in our freedom. Yes, the same Benedict we talk about as one of our worst. Nathaniel is making me think and it’s good. As we cling to hope for our country in 2016, it is good for us to rethink what we think we know about our Genesis and put in proper perspective our present, political nightmare. Studying our history will help us gain perspective. Good.
It’s amazing what we can do when we keep studying, learning, and applying, at least that’s what I’ve come to think. What, friend, do you think?
Thanks, George, for challenging us to study history. And, thanks Nathaniel for challenging my perspective. What history, friend, are you studying to make more sense of your work/life? What are your disciplines to widen perspective? Who around you helps you see things another way? What are you reading to deepen mastery in your craft? What are you doing with your learning?