Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Are We Doomed To Repeat History?

I was researching the man who said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayana.

George Santayana was born December 16, 1863 in Madrid Spain, and passed away on September 26, 1952 in Rome, Italy.  He was a philosopher, essayist poet and novelist.  The man was a genius.

This is the full quote from Vol. 1, Reason in Common Sense, and other ways the famous quote has produced variant and paraphrased statements.

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

  • Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
  • Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
  • Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
  • Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
  • Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

Another thought he had on the subject of history repeating itself was from Vol. 5, Reason in Science.  This is my personal favorite...

"History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory. It might almost be said to be no science at all, if memory and faith in memory were not what science necessarily rest on. In order to sift evidence we must rely on some witness, and we must trust experience before we proceed to expand it. The line between what is known scientifically and what has to be assumed in order to support knowledge is impossible to draw. Memory itself is an internal rumour; and when to this hearsay within the mind we add the falsified echoes that reach us from others, we have but a shifting and unseizable basis to build upon. The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe."

What are your thoughts?  Are we doomed to repeat history?

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