Monday, November 14, 2011

The Science of History

When you ask the average person about History, they’ll ramble off some dates that describe events as “something that happened in the past”. Even though this is a very linear way of looking at History, most People still fail to connect the dots of how these past events helped shape the present and potentially the future.

Take a brief moment to look around you… If there’s food around you that’s History because it was made in the past, willfully a short time ago. Even if it’s fresh, it either grew in the past or it’s ingredients came from the past. There are hundreds of children who die from food poisoning each year because someone neglected to read the spoilage date on a food item… Every thing you’re wearing right now was made in the past. Even if you sewed it today, the materials were made in the past. The device you’re using to read this Article, all of the objects around you, the Building you’re in right now or Building’s you cee around you were all made in the past. Even the Plants and Animals; they too grew from the past. In School we were taught that History is a separate subject. The reality is, all subjects, and their methodologies, are Historical. If it’s Math, its Arabic Numerals and methods were made in the past. Science? All of their definitions, processes, discoveries, and observations were made in the past. Even Physical Education (Gym) is History because somebody came up with jumping jacks! So you cee, History is not dates about past events, History is a present day reality wherever we go and there is no way around it. History (the past) is in, on and around us. As a matter of fact, what you are reading at this very moment is a past event! -smile-

“Historiography” is the critical examination of past events for the purpose of accurately writing History. Historiography is a forensic approach towards the writing of History, not the glossed over stuff we’ve been taught since Elementary School. The reason there’s even a word called “Historiography” is because People understood the importance (value) of recognizing how events of the past shape and mode the present and ultimately our future. More importantly, People realized how ‘Psychohistory’ predetermined History. The structures that were built in the past, which is every building you cee around you, were designed according to specific dimensions (length, width, and depth). Because you are inside of these structures you are subject to conform to these dimensions. If there’s a stairwell you simply have to utilize it to get upstairs, if there’s not a door there you can’t walk through the wall, and etc.. If we no longer want to conform to these dimensions then we can modify this structure to suit our needs; yet we still have to conform to the rules, regulations, and building materials (from the past) that we will be using to modify this structure. Another option is building from the ground up and making our own structures! Well keep in Mind that any past event is a structure just the same. These intangible events are structures composed of ideas, inventions, experiences and attitudes that produce the Psychological and Socioeconomic dimensions of today. And like a building, we too are subject to conform to these ideas, inventions, experiences and attitudes that determine the dimensions of today and potentially our future. So our very existence depends upon our ability to process/interpret how these past events, that are in, on and around us, affect our lives today and can possibly shape our future.

In a Society of tangible and intangible structures that were made in the past, we must ask ourselves, "How do they shape the Psychological and Socioeconomic dimensions of today?" As I’ve said, these ‘tangible’ (buildings, materials, and objects) and ‘intangible’ structures (ideas, inventions, experiences and attitudes) are in, on and around us! Those who don’t care to critically examine these past events (structures) are ill equipped to Psychologically and Socioeconomically process/interpret the present reality we exist in. In other words, if you don’t know where something came from, it’s impossible to know where it’s at, where it should be, or where it’s potentially going! Suppose that 'thing' you don’t know about is your Self… Wherever you cee People who lack a sense of Historiography, who possess a topical idea of History, you’ll cee a People who are vulnerable and “easily led” (14/1-40). The Occupy Wallstreet Movement that’s going on at this present moment reflects a great majority of this segment of our population, and it’s a beautiful thing ceeing People critically examining where things came from, are, and can go!

One thing I’ve realized for a while now and more recently in everyday conversations or even FB discussions People, is that they don’t Mind discussing how Jimi Hendrix shaped/molded the present day reality of Rock Music, how The Fab Five Freshman changed the uniform landscape of Basketball, or how NOW (National Organization for Women) helped modify the gender roles of Women in America today. Yet when it comes to those past events that happened over a period of generations like The Genocide of Native Americans, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Chattel Slavery, Segregation, Institutional Sexism/Racism, Colonialism, and etc.. People, Black & White alike, start acting strange… Instead of actively engaging in a process of critically examining these past events, like they’re clearly doing everything else, they either avoid it, deny it, run from it, hide from it, or even attack you for bringing these things up. It’s like while everything else is valid, they don’t even want to consider how the ‘tangible’ (buildings, materials, and objects) and ‘intangible’ structures (ideas, inventions, experiences and attitudes) made from “these” past events determine the Psychological and Socioeconomic dimensions of the today and potentially our future. The fact that “these” past events usually didn’t even happen to the People (Caucasians) who don’t want to even think about it tells you something in it of itself… It also tells you a lot about their level of consideration, respect, and ultimately love for those People (Black/Non-White) who’s Ancestors directly experienced these past events. Again, if you don’t consider where something came from, it’s impossible to consider where it’s at, how you should treat it, or where it’s potentially going. Does that make sense?

Now how can we began to look at History as Historiography? One of the obvious things to consider about being willing/able to critically examine History is that People have to be studious, courageous, and honest about what they’re discovering. Oftentimes, many of the ‘tangible’ (buildings, materials, and objects) and ‘intangible’ structures (ideas, inventions, experiences and attitudes) we come across are hurtful, painful, shameful, and etc.., yet we must be willing/able to accept these things as a valid location on the map of Human Geography. A Map that gives us greater insight into many of the Psychological and Socioeconomic dimensions we may/may not conform to today. This is why it’s important to engage ourselves in this process, because our Families and our Communities will undoubtedly benefit from this insight. I am a living example of this and I can’t thank my Parents enough for educating me and my siblings about how past events not only help shape our present day realities, b.u.t. how this insight empowers us to change/modify these past structures or build new one’s to meet the needs of a brighter future for our Family, Communities, People, and Humanity.

In closing, I want to address those of us who have this “Island-like” Philosophy when it comes to ourselves and our Relationships (27/1-40). The belief, feelings, or ideas that the problems going on with “other” People, in “other” Families, and in “other” Communities has nothing to do with you is a very selfish, uneducated, flawed lens to view the World through. First of all, you do not stand alone because you most likely didn’t even produce the toilet paper you used today. Even if you actually did, there are many People who made a collective contribution so that product (toilet paper) could become a reality. Even our very physical existence hinged upon the contributions of a Mother and Father, so it’s impossible to get around the fact that we are all here because of others; directly and indirectly. Now think about the illogic in such Philosophies like, “I don’t care what anybody thinks”, “I’m doing me”, and “This is MY relationship and I don’t care what anybody says”, etc… Think about how selfish this thought process is when these Individuals and Relationships are being FULLY SUPPORTED by the contributions of past events and sacrifices of others; ‘tangible’ (buildings, materials, and objects) and ‘intangible’ structures (ideas, inventions, experiences and attitudes). To live a life where we are consistently receiving from others…, yet we are not sharing/giving in return or may even care less about what others feel/think is absolutely unacceptable. Imagine how long we’d live if everybody else embraced that same Philosophy… Imagine where we would be if everybody said, “The problems going on with ‘other’ People, in ‘other’ Families and in ‘other’ Communities has nothing to do with me”… The bottom line is this: The Universe (everything) is Interdependent and one of the keys to obtaining true Peace, Harmony, Equality, and Sustainability is our willingness/ability to recognize that we are all connected and rely upon the alternating currents of all of us giving/receiving in this World; regardless if we are in a Major City or a Remote Village. So any Individual or Relationship that holds fast to Philosophies like, “I don’t care what anybody thinks”, “I’m doing me”, and “This is MY relationship and I don’t care what anybody says”, etc… have put themselves in a position to get blindsided by the Universe, because everything is Interdependent, including these Individuals and Relationships. When we are accurately examining History (Historiography), we are considering the Interdependence of TIME; the interrelationship between the past, the present and the future. Therefore, when we don’t consider these interrelationships, it’s only a matter of TIME before these Individuals and Relationships are forced to bear witness to this Interdependent reality; a reality check that always happens at a TIME we least expect it! So start engaging in some of these tough discussions about past events we’ve been selectively avoiding and in denial about. We cannot afford to be apathetic and/or ignorant to these things because these Attitudes/Perspectives will continue to produce serious consequences for our future generations. We need to learn from one another about ways WE can solve the present World’s problems (Psychological, Socioeconomic, Political, Environmental, Educational, etc.) because they are clearly affecting ‘us’ all and potentially shaping ‘our’ future.

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