Philosopher George Santayana wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Over time this has been changed around a bit to refer to history in general and has been widely accepted as a true and logical statement. But, upon closer inspection, I’m starting to question it’s wisdom.
Throughout our world history, we have wars, genocide, hatred, greed, hunger and all sorts of things we would rather not repeat. It’s all well documented and studied but we seem to keep doing the same thing over and over no matter how much we dislike the outcome. Could it be that our fixation on history actually binds us to a cycle of repetition rather than freeing us from it? Looking at the world, it seems that the most intractable conflicts are the ones with the longest history. This is also true when I consider my own personal struggles. I believe our greatest advancements have come when history and tradition are bravely set aside and a new path is taken.