Monday, April 09, 2012

The Tenuousness of History by Louis Evan Palmer

Probably the most famous saying to do with the unreliability of historical accounts is "History is written by the victors" attributed to Winston Churchill who as the author of six volumes on World War II would have had extensive first-hand experience of the accuracy of that observation.

When we see how important a role propaganda plays in any conflict and the fact that most history revolves around conflict, we can see that many of the strands in any given historical story are comprised of deliberate, and often insidiously inserted, "facts" that further a given purpose although sometimes the "facts" are blatant and crude. The mix of crude and sly are construed for maximum effect.

The curtains of secrets that descend in any conflict is another way that the historical truth of anything becomes tainted and and its deciphering gets deferred to an indeterminate future. Secrets large and small, trivial and monumental, diminish and twist the historical record for the duration of the "hold" periods; or sometimes forever, if the secret is still in force or deep and dark enough.

Interpretations of the facts according to an ideological prism also impacts the way things are framed and explained.

The exercise of caution in accepting "facts", the inclusion of other sources and a healthy skepticism, may help to winnow the story down to something that is passably "true" although it seems that we will fall short in the numerous details and in the over-arching reasons. Historical stories, true or false, continue on their own because they serve a purpose today and into the future. The best "histories" work as a kind of perpetual motion machine that once started never stop. And there is one of the dangers because these flying historical daggers almost always have a malicious intent.

The Tenuousness of History, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,


Support his art, ideas and worldview, Order books by Louis Evan Palmer: the novel "Oaklane Woods"; short stories "Tales Told to a Tree"; poems "40 Poem Fragments". Order via Kindle link at right of screen

 Copyright 2012 Louis Evan Palmer He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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