But isn't this the beauty and majesty of the human condition?
Every country (and person) on earth has ugly events in their past (just in
the US: the genocide of the American Indian, Slavery, and then the Jim
Crowe laws until the mid 1960's, interment of Japanese Americans during
WWII, Watergate, etc, ad naseum), that they take no pride in.
But we, as a society, learn from these missteps, mistakes, and abberations.
And we grow from them.
Conversely, the beautiful things about our society, the arts, the science,
are a direct result of the times and society providing the medium in which
these flourish. And some of the most striking art and science is born of
As reflected in the Desiderata
(http://acadia.bu.edu/johnk_html/Philosophy/Desiderata.html) "If you compare
yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will
be greater and lesser persons than yourself." I love this poem.
So, history has it's place as an instuction manual, primarily, of what not
to do. But it should not be used as measuring stick to measure the relative
worth of individuals or nations in world society today. But, you can take
pride in your national accomplishments. Those are the things that were done
right...where society excelled...sometimes, in spite of (or because of) all
Sorry for the long post...now stay tuned for your regularly scheduled
[mailto:newtontalk-bounce_at_newtontalk.net]On Behalf Of Michael J. Hu▀mann
Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 9:42 AM
Subject: Re: [NTLK] [OT] Football and nationalism
richard_at_cyberphotographer.com (richard_at_cyberphotographer.com) wrote:
> So we should put our ancestry out of mind and ignore the sacrifices
> and achievements of our forebears? Let's stop the teaching of history
> in schools.
I don't quite follow your logic here. Refusing being proud of other
people's achievements (or taking the blame for other's crimes, for that
matter) in no way implies one should ignore the past. Obviously, one
> I am proud to be British and if I were Dutch or American or German I would
> be proud of that too. Those who forget history are condemned forever
> to repeat it.
For example, I, as a German, cannot be proud of Goethe's and Mann's
writings, Bach's and Beethoven's music, or Leibniz' and Einstein's
science -- I didn't take any part in their achievements, and I'm not even
a proper descendant -- if any of my own ancestors did anything
particulary noteworthy, it failed to be recorded. And then, there's WW II
and the holocaust: if I claim Bach and Einstein to be my ancestors, then
what about the Nazis? I didn't take part in their crimes either, but
wouldn't I have to take the good with the bad, if it comes to inheriting
Germany's past? The holocaust is as much of a legacy as Goethe's "Faust",
Bach's "Goldberg Variations", and Leibniz' Calculus are -- something to
accept as part of my country's history, but not something to feel either
guilty or proud of.
But that's all I have to say on that matter, and I will keep quiet from
Michael J. Hussmann
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