Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Future of History by Wanda Hartzenberg

The definition of history is quite simple and clear. It is the study of past events, particularly in human affairs. History based on it's very definition is a human construct and as such it is open to interpretation as well as being a very subjective experience. Ask any pupil anywhere and they will assure you that;
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” And depending on their age etc they might even tell you that this infamous quote was coined by Aristotle long before the term coined became part of the universal franca lingua. 

You need not be a physicist to understand that if your dealing with a construct which is greater than it's parts then you are dealing with parts or elements. The elements of a construct such as history itself is however something best left to philosophers. If, for some reason, you however find yourself at gunpoint and must give the basic parts or constructs that makes up history as a whole then you might be served by this fun little acronym I found on a blog

P= Politics. Who governs whom. Colonialism, Adolf Hitler....this list is as obvious as it is long. 

E= Economics. Who is the Jones's and why do we need to keep up with them?  Oh they have oil. We want oil. The Great Depression. Again, long and really scary. 

R= Religion.  Here let me borrow from Alice in Wonderland -- off with their heads. Religion, yes even the lack thereof shapes ideology. Ideology shapes beliefs which shapes EVERYTHING. 

S=Social.  Rosa Parks sat down in a bus seat and changed the world. It was a social act of defiance not a political one that changed the face of the USA. 

I=Intellectual. Can anybody think off a more obvious choice here than Albert Einstein?  

A=Art.  The Beatles song Helter Skelter fueled Charles Mansion's delusions over a supposed impending race war. The rest, as they say, is history. 

So now that we know what history is made off we also need to understand that history is made by change. A change in the status quo on a level that impacts the masses is needed for a historic event to be classified as an event. 

The plain that dropped the first atomic bomb is the The Enola Gay a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, named for Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot, it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb code-named "Little Boy" during the last stages of WWII.  

Now even though a song was written marking the name of said Boeing B-29 into pop culture for generations to come and the code name of the first ever atomic bomb to be used in war fare is part of most school curriculums, none of the facts above would have had any relevance if it was not linked to a change impacting on the masses. For the first time ever, an atomic bomb was used as a weapon. 

So history is a human construct centered around events of change. These events can be for the greater good of mankind such as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833
In the UK. It can be an event that shakes the very foundation of the human psyche,
such as the hi-jacking of Sabena Flight 571, where the casualties were very low but the impact internationally rivaled that of a tsunami. 
Sometimes the events are subtle, like Naderev Sano, a member of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, whom in 2013 "in solidarity with my countrymen who are now struggling for food back home" went on a hunger strike. He accomplished little but his act raised international consciousness on a plight of millions. 

Sometimes the events are both legally and morally far into the grey area such as actions taken by the Sea Shepard Nature Conservation Society; on the one hand activists, on the other classified as eco terrorists. 

As a human construct centering around human experiences marked by specific events, history is nothing more nor less than the experience of one human in a certain point and time. 
Therefore to paraphrase Edmund Burke, yes it turns out this famous saying cannot be found anywhere in Burke's writing in the form known to all. 
 History is not as set in stone as we all think...
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" 

Remember, your future will soon be your history. Nothing explains your role in life better than the Butterfly effect. Fly!  
Hi. My name is Wanda Hartzenberg and I am a native South African. I still live in Pretoria where I was raised as a child. I used to think of myself as somebody that pushed the boundaries but not till late last year did I really decide that I need to push myself harder to really see what I am made off. As little as two and a half years back on this very same blog I promised that I am a reader. A very passionate reader at that but that I would never venture into the world as a writer. Half a year later I made myself a liar. My first collaborative work for a charity was published as The Struggle Of Me, a YA novel about fitting in when your home life is at best dysfunctional. 2014 my first solo short story based on true events was published as Suicide Song. This story is still very close to my heart as I

have stood next to grave sides of so many friends who could not cope with life any longer. I have since joined forces with our very own Catalina writing joint magazine articles based on history for an online magazine; The Inflectionist. It seems the more I push myself the more I realize that I mistook rebellion for growth and now in my early forties I see the error of my youthful ways. I honestly cannot tell you where I see myself in 10 years time but I do know by then this bio will be nothing but the foundation of where I started from as a writer and a reader. Because let's face it, nothing beats a good book.


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