‘Once upon a time there was barbarism, filthy brutes, war and suffering. Then came modern civilization with Ford and Marx and things became nice.’
Aside from Renaissance and few more positive mentions here and there, that sums up over 90% of history taught. And for the most part it is BS.
Why is that considered history? For the same reason why the worst of the worst news are considered ‘news’.
A person who thinks his whole past has been bad, wont be up to imagining anything better for his present and future, based on logic. He wont make anything better for himself, and he wont ask for anything better, assuming you provide him with something yourself. The same can occur to whole civilizations.
The past century, this civilization nearly reached the point of no return. A point of insanity wherein the whole globe was about to get burnt. All that while doctors of insanity started to operate for the first time in known history, and their operational methods resembled that of medieval ‘cleansing’.
Compared to that past century, we have made huge leaps forward, indeed. Leaps towards human rights, and leaps towards limiting casualties in war and conditions at work.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s always been as dark as that past century.
Actually, history has been moving in circles. It gets better, and then it gets worse again.
I could mention a few things that used to be better back then than they are now. First of all, education hasn’t always been centralized, just like states and governments haven’t always been that large, either.
In Athens, which doesn’t have much to do with the modern Athens I live in, anyone could open his own school and teach people what he wanted. Aside from respecting religion (unless you were called Socrates), there were no ‘objective’ rights and wrongs, as those were considered authoritarian, anti-democratic and were frowned upon by the people. Otherwise philosophy and science couldn’t had occurred –at least not in any constructive manner.
You’ve probably heard about slaves. Slaves were captives of war, and that is some ugly thing indeed. But tell me, if it is unfair to force somebody to work (while granting him rights) because he had tried to kill your family, why is it fair to put somebody in prison and have him tortured for decades by his inmates and staff because he had been caught smoking some fancy sort of a plant, all that while the inventors of heroin, LSD and other street drugs are filthy rich in the so called pharmaceutical industry?
Kings haven’t always been bloody murderers either, in history. ‘King’ or ‘monarch’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘authoritarian’ nor ‘despot’. And ‘democracy’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘liberal’ either. The Nazi party was elected democratically, and Stalin was put there through a collective revolution. Whether you like them guys or not, is beside the point. To be honest, I don’t have any problem with anyone’s political, religious nor other affiliations. You must agree though they were not the very permissive sort, and that is my point.
Perhaps modern democracy -that doesn’t have much to do with the old direct democracy-got glorified so as to conceal the fact that paying tribute to some crown and to some state didn’t make that much difference for citizens after all…
Also, it isn’t true that Greece spread civilization to the world, just because theirs was made of marble and some scriptures exist until now. The ‘spreading civilization’ was an uncivilized sport that Alexander and some subsequent Roman Caesars engaged into; one that both the Greek and Roman citizens paid for dearly.
As usual, I’d suggest to be mindful what you take as real, particularly when it’s not before your eyes, for things have actually been, are and are going to be much much better, and you can take that as my opinion alone.