November 15, 2010

Visions of History: Ways of Seeing the Past

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The way we think about and understand the past shapes the way we view both the present and the future - Orwell's famous slogan from 1984 captures this. Most of us without realising it have a unique vision of the past, a way of thinking about it that predisposes us to look at current events in a particular way. In general, we focus on power and its workings while overlooking other aspects of human existence such as voluntary exchange, cooperative interaction, innovation, and discovery. When these are brought to the foreground, a different kind of historical narrative emerges and transforms our ideas of important dates and significant figures in history.