History’s link to humanity

Joaquina Pires-O`Brien

History provides a perspective of the world that is critical to the development of our humanity, defined as the sentiment that compels us to try to understand and to develop compassion to those who are not members of our country, community or group. It shows that in order to cope with death and the hardships of life, early man created the myths of the afterlife and the super-natural beings like gods and demi-gods. And when things took a turn for the worse, man created ceremonies to placate the wrath of the gods; and to protect all those untruths, man created religion. History also shows that most wars, until the advent of nationalism, were are fought in the name of religion.

In his article ‘What became of postmodernism and its deconstructive and iconoclast delusion?’, Fernando R. Genovés shows that postmodernism was a fraudulent interpretation of reality with the support of a kind of academic club. Its purpose was to serve its members and to demoralize non-members. The claim by certain peoples that they were the first to arrive in a certain place, another common untruth of man, is rebuked in the article ‘Nomads and settlers. The four stages of culture’, by Zénaïde Ragozin, who writes that ‘however far we may go back into the past, the people whom we find inhabiting any country at the very dawn of tradition, can always be shown to have come from somewhere else, and not to have been the first either’. This is exactly the case of Spain and Portugal before the arrival of the Romans, as Francisco Guijon shows in his article ‘Who were the Iberians?’.

The two books reviewed in this edition are linked by the fact that both consider man’s inclination to invent myths. Lincoln Paine’s The sea and civilization, reviewed by Juan J Morales, denounces the neglect to take into account the role of the sea in world history, even though the sea comprises two thirds of our planet. Irving Finkel’s The ark before Noah tells the story of the flood contained in the ancient Babylonian literature recorded in cuneiform writing, shows that people who lived much before the Hebrews produced not one but several narratives that are extraordinarily similar to several narratives of the Bible. The implication of this discovery could seriously challenge religion and the wars caused by it.

With all the lessons of history available, why is it that man finds it so difficult to accept truth? Why do people hang on to imagined worlds instead of embracing reality?

July 2014