Saturday, September 28, 2013

How Much of History Can We Trust? by Toi Thomas

“History has been written, but it has not always been right or complete…” –Narrator, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel

Toi ThomasAside from matters of a supernatural nature, which the above quote from my book refers, why is it there are so many discrepancies in fact, fiction, and myth in terms of our collective history? 

I have a theory that I feel may be a bit pessimistic, but I want to assure the readers of this post that I do have hope for the future of humankind. I hope that humanity will learn from the facts and myths of history just how to be more kind and bring in a more peaceful future. 

The first thing I’d like to state about my theory on the discrepancies between fact and myth is that there seems to be a great deal of either: hate, greed, or pride at the root of most of it. When dealing with such matters as hate, greed, and pride people tend to want to believe certain things, while others, though they may be right, refuse to believe some things could be true for fear of hurting their own egos. 

The second thing I’d like to state is that some myths are positive and some are negative, but in either case, the truth of these tends to leave a bad feeling behind by those who once whole heartily believed in the myth. For this reason, I feel that the spreading and debunking of many myths to be an act of cruelty. Don’t get me wrong, I do think the truth should be sought, but I have to wonder about how some of these stories start, spread, and are engaged. 

The following are simply examples I picked for the sake of argument and they will probably upset someone reading this, but that is not my purpose. 

Highly Probable Myths

-A man could legally beat his wife with a stick no thicker than the width of his thumb, thus giving way to the phrase “the thumb rule”.

 

-The original design of the Statue of Liberty was meant to depict a slave woman, but white Americans wouldn’t accept it.

 

-During the time of the popular Irish Immigration, nationwide- public store owners would post signs stating “No Irish Need Apply” because the Irish population was flooding the job market.

 

The truth or falsehood of these statements isn’t a matter I care to debate at the moment, but I would like to take a look at the state of the American past that would cause such statements to exists and even be questions of debate today. All these highly probable myths, if you care to research them, do have some truth to them, but obviously have been exaggerated or influence by instances of hate, greed, or pride. 

 

People still facing the ever present issues of racism, sexism, and discrimination can easily believe statements such as these, while those who have not a care, or so few, in the world can’t understand why someone would believe these statements. Like I stated earlier, whatever the whole truth may be, there is some level of truth or origin as to how the stories were started…but “Why were these myths started?” is a greater question.

 

But that's a question for another time. More on my theory for now.

 

Men, more specifically husbands, have in the past and in many ways now still have a more prominent or dominate role in society and women as a whole are still fighting for equality. The glass ceiling is still quite heavy and far out reach for many in the U.S. To state that race is still an issue seems silly, but for those who don’t know, it is. Then there’s the matter of nationality and culture. Some people still go out of their make to make this distinction, which I think would be a good thing and a show of positive pride, but too many use it as a way to discriminate. There are still so many people out there who search beyond the color of another person’s skin in order to find some reason to dislike them. Everything that I’ve talked about up to this point has been a build to my ultimate questions that I, unfortunately, don’t know if there are answers to.

 

-How much of history can we trust?

 

-Is it possible that many of the views people have now are based on false tales of the past presented as true history?

 

-Is there a way to prevent new myths that do nothing but start argumentative debates or is this just the way the world is and will always be?

 

-Who is deciding what history is worth telling and what are the motives of the people who question matters of the past that will affect the present and future?

 

-How far have we really come and how far will we ever get?

 

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I prefer to believe myths over reality because sometimes myths seem to make more sense. Then I wonder to myself, “Why spread myths if the truth can be found?” I think there is a struggle of power happening somewhere, which are the roots of another war waiting to be started. Hopefully, in time, truth and facts, no matter how shocking and disappointing, will aid the efforts of peace.

 

While my book, Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel is clearly a work of fiction, it does bring up a question or two about what is known of history to be actual fact, though this is a very minor theme. There are many themes within this book including: dreams, curses, family, adoption, faith, fear, love, death, wealth, intimacy, war, struggle, race, diversity, angels, demons, good vs. bad, purpose, and hope.

 

I believe to question the status quo for a sense of clarity to be quite noble, but sometimes I feel as though things are questioned simply to invoke an argument. I guess the point of all this is that, at some point; even history becomes a matter of faith. People have to decide for themselves what to believe in, stand for, and in some cases, fight for. People must have faith in something, whether it be something: physical, emotional, logical, spiritual, technical, or some combination of them all.

~

A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be home. Working with computers and cooking lavish meals are reoccurring pastimes for this Virginia Beach teacher’s assistant. She’s been blogging for three years and is proud to present her debut novel.

 

To learn more about Toi Thomas and Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel, please visit these links: