Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

An epiphanous moment...

Last night I woke up suddenly at 1:30 in the morning, with one of those rare moments where things just fell into place. In this instance it was a full understanding of human history. I know this sounds a bit strange, but as the moment went on I saw the grand sweep, if you will, of the passage of humanity through the centuries to now. When I attempted to scry ahead, the moment stopped. It was a fascinating experience: how events affect individuals and how individuals make events and how it all 'intertwingles' together. I saw the inter-connectedness not only with each other now, but with all our ancestors.

Another version of the double helix metaphor, if you stop and think about it.

In the land of Oz we have had the so-called 'history wars'; the argument being not necessarily about facts of historical significance (who did what to whom when), but rather, how one is to interpret these facts. The current Prime Minister decries the 'black armband' interpretation of history, which he states highlights the grimness of past events. He would rather see a nicer rendition of history. Others take quite the opposite view.

So history it not just a boring school subject. It is actually alive, well, and firmly ensconced in the political thrust of the day. How we see our past will help dictate how we see the present day, and how we might predict the future. Without a knowledge of history, a human is indeed a sort of 'tabula rasa' held captive by the myths and metaphors of his or her culture and time frame.

So, the moment has give me lots to think about. And as Norman Cousins put it -- and is part of my email 'signature': "History is a vast early warning system".

May all be well for you.

PB White

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