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Old 05-10-2009, 07:49 AM
 
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The United States tends to be a future oriented society. Some societies...Latin America in particular...tend to be more for the herre and now. Middle Eastern countries tend to be very interested in historical events. How about the rest of the world? This is what is generally considered to the way different cultures approach time and relate to the past...How about the rest?...What about Europe, Africa, Asia, India, the Pacific, Canada, Australia and the Pacific?
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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That's a very interesting thought. I think the US, as you said, looks more to the future..and in doing so, neglects not only its own history, but also world history...maybe if we had a better understanding of the past, we would make wiser decisions.
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trudy Rose View Post
That's a very interesting thought. I think the US, as you said, looks more to the future..and in doing so, neglects not only its own history, but also world history...maybe if we had a better understanding of the past, we would make wiser decisions.
I don't know about that. G.W. Bush's undergraduate degree was in history and he acted like he hadn't read a history book in his life during his tenure in office. I think that there are leaders who are so megalomaniacal that even if they know history, they have some inner delusion that they can somehow bull their way past the truths we have learned from that discipline.

But then again, his dad had an Economics degree form Yale and seemed totally clueless about what to do about that recession that occurred when he was in office.

Moreover, we have a such a strong anti-intellectual bent in this country that being learned is almost seen as a disadvantage when running for office.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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As an old expression goes, those who don't study history are condemned to repeat it.
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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I think Americans are very "backward" looking in our concept of history, but we look back very selectively at cherry-picked history. As Americans look at the future, all are very aware of past history, but they have been blinded to any aspects of past history that would contra-indicate some future course that they are dogmatically committed to. Not that this is peculiar to Americans.

Also, in America, history is a very regional thing. I went to high school in the midwest, and was taught virtually nothing about the history or the geography of my state. I can't recall a single casual discussion outside of school with any of my classmates about anything historical.

When I got to college in Louisiana, every kid had a well-founded knowledge of the history and geography and culture of Louisiana, and there were regular coffee-shop arguments on historical minutiae. Civil war arguments could rage on for hours, while the kids I went to high school with wouldn't have known who won the Civil War had it not been for the Matinees.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I think Americans are very "backward" looking in our concept of history, but we look back very selectively at cherry-picked history.
Backward looking? It seems to me that there is an over reliance on mythology rather than actual history.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
Backward looking? It seems to me that there is an over reliance on mythology rather than actual history.
True, there is alot of mythology...and every country and culture has its own
"Founding" myths. However, the more they are looked into, the more historians are finding some truth in them..and it leads to a better understanding.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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History is not just "stuff that happened in the past." What happened twenty seconds ago is history, but it still has immediate effects. History is stuff that is a little more removed, but still has ramifications in the present.

Just this morning I was reading a National Geographic from 1917 and chanced upon a map of the percentages of foreign stock in the various states, with foreign stock being defined as people who were born out of the country. There are implications in such maps, and one striking feature of this one is that it almost perfectly delineated the "old south" as the only major area in the country where less than 5% of the population was foreign born. New York, OTOH, was over 50% foreign born.

Just musing on the possibilities was an education for me. Was the lack of new settlers due to policies within those states? Since the population was more isolated, was that a reason why the Bible Belt gained prominence there? Did that have an influence in the voting patterns? I can think of dozens of other related questions that have effects today and will in the future.

Stories on the war in that issue included a diatribe from a senator, the theme of which could be transported to just about any war the U.S. has entered. Alexander Graham Bell talked about sitting in an empty pool in his basement, with air flowing over ice allowed to drift down into it, and sitting comfortably at 65 degrees on a 90 degree Washington summer day, this while the new White House "refrigeration plant" was only able to effect a ten degree reduction in temperature. I learned from him that water heaters of that time had no insulation.

In reading the ads in the issue, I came across about a half-dozen car manufacturers, some unknown to me. Ever hear of the "Moon Car" or the "Paige?" They were not to big to fail, and knowing that they did brings home the idea of companies normally not being multi-generational behemoths to be rescued by the government. Men with pot bellies were called "medium stout" by their tailors." Quaker cereal had "Quaker Wheat." Asbestos roofs were good things.

All of the items in the magazine are in some fashion "current." One of the hardest parts of seeing the photos and reading the articles is to realize that every single person mentioned or shown is long dead. When reading a dedicated history book, that is the natural assumption, but when reading what was a contemporary magazine with passingly modern ideas, and photos that look like they could have been taken less than fifty years ago, it is hard to wrap the mind around the idea of "Dead. Dead. He's dead. She's dead. That little kid is now dead. ALL of those soldiers are now dead." So much of the essence of their lives live on in history. Seeing them and reading about them is like meeting fascinating new neighbors, and a lot of people are just beginning to catch on to this effect.

As the media becomes more capable, there may be areas where history becomes part of the current culture. Being able to use the net to view a famous site, and then quickly go back to photos of it in earlier ages may transform into virtual tours, complete with period costumes, foods, and technology. Whereas movies and television force a particular viewpoint, and thrust a theme onto historical events, a re-living of the scene and time of such events could become a whole new form of entertainment.

Imagine being able to actually go into a V.R. world of Washington pre-automobile and pre-electricity, or standing on the sidelines of the Kennedy assassination and then being able to go to a restaurant just off the plaza and have the food of the time and overhear conversations about period events. While the earliest events in the country are amorphous, much of what is currently going into history has been recorded and documented from multiple angles, and will become easily convertible to a V.R. that will fascinate future generations.

As the U.S. begins to lose power to the Chinese, retrospection and introspection will become more popular. Living in the past, in a V.R. sense could become wildly popular in the near future.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Ever hear of the "Moon Car" or the "Paige?" . . . . . standing on the sidelines of the Kennedy assassination and then being able to go to a restaurant just off the plaza and have the food of the time .
My uncle had a Moon. We have a picture of him standing with his foot on the running board.

The restaurant would have had a bowl of sugar on the table with a spoon in it.

One of the first things that struck me about the internet, at the outset, was the dearth of history on it. All websites were the creations of young whippersnappers, who limited the scope of their sites to the contemporary phenomena that tney knew about first hand. Only gradually, a few historians began to penetrate the web and it is still horribly deficient in references to times that are not within the lifespan of the people who dominated the computer era.

To a large extent, even today, there is little of historical value on the web, except memorabilia posted by collectors.
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