Arthur N asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it?

Is this statement true, why or why not?

Also if it is true why does it seem that each generation needs to learn the lesson of the past over and over the hard way?


13 Answers

  • small
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    History does not repeat identically, only similar events keep happening..... this translates to similar mistakes are made again and again and not identical ones. The reason in my opinion is that the lessons we learn from history are learned merely based on the obvious and peripheral manifestations.... the root causes and issues are neither duly analyzed nor properly understood in depth... and when similar situations arise again, the obvious and peripheral conditions change shape and form and it is the root cause and issue that remains unchanged. In other words, when history really repeats, we are unable to see it that way and we always argue that the current situation is different.... indeed the current situation would never be identical to an earlier one in all respects, but we fail to see that the crux of the issue is no different and hence the solution lies in learning history in terms of the key underlying teachings it provides.

    While our superficial learning of history as stated above is one of the reasons why every generation has to learn the same lesson the hard way each time, there is another very important factor.... the ego.... each generation suffers from its own ego and this prevents it learning from the mistakes of the earlier generations. This can well be experienced even within a family unit itself.

    Thanks for a simple sounding deep question... enjoyed pondering over it...... hope you find my thoughts as above to be sensible enough.

  • mrm
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    If you believe that individuals, a people, a society, a nation are the evolutionary successors to what came before (and I don't mean that in a Darwinian sense in the micro, at least), then the statement is undeniably true. Today, based on the past, we should all know that---torture, for example---is not a good thing. We should all know a lot of things that were tried in the past,and just didn't "work out". So, we should avoid those things. That, it seems to me, is an objective kind of thing.

    The reason that some of the time we "revisit" the errant ways of the past, is because we are subjective entities, not objective data collectors/computers. "Human frailty" has a lot to do with it, and "human frailty" is the one very large common denominator. No?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Past social experiences help form an individuals’ personality. 'Tthe self' could only fully develop when people had the ability to interact with each other. Without the interaction of other people an individual is unable to develop a personality. An example of this is if a child is left in total isolation for a long period of time, the child would present immaturely either physically, mentally or a combination or the two. When we’re driving we all anticipate what others may do because of our past driving experience. If an individual behind you is speeding up rather quickly, then you can assume that they are about to switch lanes, or you can assume that they are in a rush and need to get somewhere quickly. As humans we copy the roles of other people during our stages of development. Children are through mimicking and creativity take or copy the roles of significant others in their life. The ability to copy parents or siblings has specific importance in their social development. Children love to 'play house', in which someone will take the role of a mother while another takes that of a father and as they age children will mimic the various roles they come in contact with. As we continue to age we will continue to see changes in our social life. The family has the greatest impact on an individual’s socialization abilities. A newborn infant has no control and must rely on the parents and other family members to nurture them. Through family they learn communication techniques, trust, culture, and the beliefs of the nurturer. Not all learning comes solely from family; the environment plays an important role which will differ from culture to culture. We are not born with values or beliefs.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, this isn't a true statement. History repeats itself whether one learns from it or not.

    Billions of people have inhabited the earth, and like the other animals, act similary under similar conditions. What is important is to understand the conditions that lead to unacceptable outcomes and change the conditions.

    Often we seek individuals for blame, but the source of the problem is often in the conditions that persist throughout time in the human condition.

    These conditions are often related to some basic items - such as the need to provide basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing, medicine), equality, justice, defense, social welfare, and the motivation to achieve economically by providing value to others.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think no one really listens to what is taught about history. And when similar conditions arise they think they need to provide their own answers. Which unfortunately leads to the same conclusion.

    As one poster responded the nature of man is the same for everyone one. Some to greater and lesser degrees of strengths and weaknesses than others. Because of the repetitive nature of human nature mankind's history by default repeats itself.

  • 1 decade ago

    I find people learn the best when they experience realizations for themselves. Those physical sensations are evident to me as being just motivators for change. For the sake of clarity let's don an example: Someone burning their hand on a hot stove is likely not to touch it again, while a preventative parent constantly telling their child not to touch something that hot doesn't seem to communicate to the child that there's any form of danger there - until of course the child does it for themself. Then the learning takes place.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The lesson is never really learned because the one who wins the war writes the history.

    The resulting lie whitewashes their part in the conflict and blames the looser for everything.

    This nonsense is then spoon fed to the next few generations and they learn nothing of value beyond a bunch of empty patriotic nonsense.

    Love and blessings Don

  • 1 decade ago

    There is a corollary to that one - it is:

    "The only thing you can learn from History, is that you can't learn anything from History!"

    I would have to say they are both true - it depends on the specific examples from History that are either insignificant as a learning example, or noteworthy.

    Source(s): "Take a look in your History book - its up to you, to mix the stew - give my compliments to the Chef!" - SAHB
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'll only point out a starting reply. If you don't learn from history, you've lost even your option to benefit from it. ( I assume learn from history means at least 'know your history')

    That quote is from Santayana I think.

  • 1 decade ago

    The problem may be that the ones who have learned aren't able to use the knowledge.

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