Saturday, August 10, 2013

In the 21st Century ~ Filling in the Rifts of History ~ By M.C.V. Egan

It is hard to imagine that in the 1700s when Voltaire stated that “History is the lie commonly agreed upon” He could envision the technology or access to data and communication that we enjoy in the 21st century.

With science able to test DNA, Carbon Dating and surely resources that are well beyond the grasp of my rather un-scientific mind; much of what can be scientifically disputed strongly affects our understanding of the past.
With technology offering computer simulation systems that help give valid portrayals to much disputed events such as the Kennedy assassination. We can re-enact what past generations could merely imagine.I personally cannot even figure out my smart phone, so surely here a wiser reader can add multiple examples that escape me.
Today I watch sports in amazement as Hawk-Eye systems replay and usually deny possibilities of disputes that so colored sports in my youth. I was born the same year as John McEnroe and part of the entertainment was waiting for the inevitable “You cannot be serious” and the fun of arguing with friends if it was in or out.

Today we are immediately informed and so many of us either through reading or video love to keep informed. What was the percentage of people who could even read in the 1700s? It is not just a question of the percentage, but their place in society as education and religion were so deeply interconnected.

In Voltaire’s era there is no doubt that history was limited to what was written by great powers; religious or political. In that era history’s voice was that of the victors; since those that lost were imprisoned, dead, or considered irrelevant. Today no-one is too small to have a voice, technology has given all of us the power to be relevant.
We live in an era in which anyone curious enough to seek, can usually find information in any subject. Information can be just as easily shared with a few key-strokes, an attachment, or a post.
I am far too verbose but those with the gift of the succinct in 140 characters or less have gotten the world’s attention with a quick tweet.

In this Golden Age of information literally at our fingertips I wonder how much of this is helping us fill in historical rifts? How much of it is creating an overload of mis-information? Information that all can question and debate.
In my personal search and research for THE BRIDGE OF DEATHS I have seen many data bases change information that was incorrect. In the 1990s when I began my quest into the crash of the G-AESY reputable sources were full of inaccurate information. As an unquestionably insecure individual; insecure about my absolute lack of knowledge about 1939, I checked and re-checked my facts seeking original sources if I could, or comparing a variety of sources if the original was not available.  

When I was a student in France in the late 1970s a professor pointed out that my choice of Newspaper was limited to a right wing publication, he recommended I also purchase the left wing paper and compare notes to form my own opinion. History books are often influenced by the political leanings of those who write them.

In the early 1990s I married into a family with strong perspectives that were very different from my own. My father-in-law was a man of strong opinions yet infinite wisdom and willing to listen, he often said; "There are two sides to a story and then there is the truth."

Having the courage to explore diverse sides of a story in regards to the past may well help us become a more open-minded society in the present.

I will use my week in IS HISTORY THE AGREED UPON LIE? To share a few of the discrepancies I found in my quest some that I have found recently and others early on in my research.
There is so much available to us, I hope that every inquisitive reader out there taps into their inner detective or researcher and that the wonderful posts by the guests excite a curiosity and a spark to uncover and fill in rifts in our past and help us communicate better in the present.

Delray Beach, Florida
August 10th, 2013