On the Benefits and Harms of History for Life - Philosophy

About the benefits and harms of history for life

Are not the peoples that have gone too far along the path of civilization's progress become vulnerable? As you know, Rome was destroyed by the hordes of barbarians. Today, the Western civilization is threatened by the East, which used a partisan strategy, which always horrified professional military men. Does this mean that a modern society based on democracy and education, humanism and the protection of human rights; a society that relied on comfort will inevitably be conquered and plundered by less civilized greedy neighbors? It is now obvious that it is very vulnerable: any terrorist can not only harm its inhabitants, but also sow such a panic that makes society unstable. What can be done to protect modern civilization? Can the study of history give people back confidence in the future?

The genealogical method , proposed by Friedrich Nietzsche as an alternative to transcendentalism and historicism, had a marked influence on the philosophical methodology of the twentieth century. He has undergone a significant substantive evolution, both for Nietzsche himself and his followers.

A young, promising professor of classical philology, Friedrich Nietzsche, unexpectedly stated in 1871 that the surplus of history and, consequently, civilization turns into misfortune. His main idea was that dry, objectified, learned history is harmful. It has formed a huge number of young people who know a lot, but whose history does not teach anything. What kind of story can be useful? Sometimes we have to revise the conventional idea of ​​the progressive and the reactionary. In the arena of history suddenly appear strong personality, resurrecting the passed phase of history. Nietzsche called them "spellcasters of the past". They gather a wide audience and with their magnetic look and enthusiastic speech bring it into a state of affect, under the influence of which people are capable of self-sacrifice and are ready to put on the map all previously achieved.

The historical education, which is so proud of European culture, in fact weakens the personal beginning, it turns a historian into an actor, reincarnating in other people's roles; it slows down and even destroys the instincts necessary for life, for it creates the illusion of the rationality and justice of the historical process. Man, in order to act, needs the support of memory, which is nothing but the spirit of ancestors. But history can inspire fear, and then forgetfulness becomes necessary. In this connection, the main question of the anthropology of history is whether a person has enough plastic power to bear the burden of history.

There are two extreme like people: some literally "expire in blood" from the most insignificant experience caused by mild suffering or a sense of injustice; others, on the contrary, have a thick skin and are not affected by the most terrible adversities and atrocities. The former even feel "humiliated and offended" even in relatively mild conditions of life, while others, under the most unfavorable conditions of life, achieve prosperity and tranquility. The reason for this Nietzsche sees in the "roots of inner nature". Rough unbridled natures do not have a historical feeling: they can not be subordinated to themselves, they do not pay attention and forget. Despite the limited education, the presence of false beliefs, the commitment to outdated traditions, unhistorical people have excellent health and cheerfulness. Conversely, a sophisticated educated person turns out to be weak and weak-willed in his inability to free himself from subtle but strong dependencies.

Thanks to history, man is civilized, but he also degrades due to its surplus. Historical Nietzsche calls such people, whose appeal to the past is connected with the desire for the future. They believe that the meaning of existence will be revealed as historical progress, they look back only to understand the present and to foresee the future. A strong and active person needs samples and examples of successful achievement of noble and great goals. The study of the monumental history - the history of the heroes - is a good way to improve the nation, mired in small everyday worries. But as a science such a monumental history sins with many shortcomings. Historical events are often embellished and even turned into fictions, their goal - to inspire inspiration and the desire to imitate. From this approach, the past itself suffers, the actual causes and consequences of which are in the shadow of the heroes. The present is also experiencing disasters from fanatics who are not haunted by the monuments of heroes.

In general, Nietzsche is convinced of the usefulness of history for life and considers it promising to seek its true form. "History," he writes, "belongs to a person who lives in a threefold relationship: as a being active and aspiring, as a being guarding and respecting, and finally as a being who is suffering and in need of liberation."

Nietzsche's ideas are regarded in different ways. Thus, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers was wary of the idea of ​​genealogical excavations in order to find something forgotten. The past contains not only light, but also terrible, and if so "the glorious past" little contributes to humanizing a person, it is obvious that the reconstruction of evil, which has accumulated a lot in history, can only contribute to the bezistilization (brutality) of people. According to Jaspers, history does not connect man with sources, people, soil, tradition: "We do not come from any beginning. Our historical consciousness together with our history is a phenomenon in time, freely floating without any available knowledge of the soil and the starting point. " At the same time, in the horizon of history, a person finds a broad perspective, which is necessary for the construction of the future. According to Jaspers, human history has a common purpose and meaning. He understood it, on the one hand, as something timeless, timeless, exemplary (such is the story of great people whose lives are presented as role models), and on the other hand, as something that flows in time. Together with the history, historical consciousness also changes. What should survive in all cataclysms is a person and his self-concept, ie, philosophy. Without history, man would not be a man; it is the process of the self-manifestation of its essence. A person needs a history, for there he draws examples of how people have remained people in conditions immeasurably more severe than those in which we live.

According to Martin Heidegger, in our time history has imperceptibly turned into a science that satisfies positivist standards of objectivity. But our facts from the point of view of the ancients - not just extremely dry, selected for events that are unclear to them, but also their interpretations that are completely uninteresting. Heidegger called his method aimed at correcting the modernizing history, destruction, for which the model of philosophizing is not in the future, but in the past. He defined the destruction as a "certificate of origin" and issuing a birth certificate and contrasted it with traditional historicism, the essence of which he saw in the "bad relativization" ontological installations. It is historicism that leads to nihilism. Here Heidegger seems to coincide with Nietzsche in the question of the relationship between genealogy and history. In his view, the negative side of the destruction is aimed at the present and is an indirect one. Its main task, however, is to preserve the tradition by purging it of parasitic stratifications and thereby delineating its true boundaries.

Michel Foucault and other French authors referred to the "genealogy" Nietzsche is positive. Foucault wrote: "Genealogy is not limited to history, but proceeds from the original events and the denial of monotonous finality. She is looking for events where they are least expected, and where there is no history - in feelings, love, conscience, institutions. It reveals their origin not in circular lines of development, but by reconstructing various scenes in which events play a different role. " Genealogy is interested in the points of origin of various historical epochs. It seeks not the goal, but the source, and this is different from the modern metahistory in the spirit of Jaspers. She patiently digs in the most diverse material and does not carry out preliminary scientific selection, when the historian of chemistry deals only with such discoveries that are relevant to his science, and the historian of mores painstakingly collects acts of generosity and compassion in the history of violence and wars. In contrast to attempts to put in the historical basis a certain "meaning" and even the "target", the impressive genealogical building rests on the solid foundation of small imperceptible truths.

Looking at everyday life in the socio-genetic aspect, the German sociologist Norbert Elias (1897-1990), as well as the historians of the Annals School , described changes in the fundamental structures of perception, evaluation and understanding reality; mental mechanisms of self-discipline, responsibility and foresight. In his works, Elias views the civilizational process not as a result of human activity planned by reason and purposefully realized in science and technology, but as an intertwining of the various practices of upbringing, cognition, labor, power, etc. at the level of everyday life. The reorganization of human relations, carried out during the evolution of power , civilizes human behavior in a particular direction: the formation of centers of the monopoly of power leads to a reduction in personal dependencies, the expansion of the circle of persons mediating relations of domination and slavery in the form of "power over the body" legal norms in the form of "power over the soul". This civilize not only appearance and behavior, but also the intentions, feelings and experiences of a person. Particularly great contribution to this civilizational process was made by the court society: manners of behavior, speech, etiquette, restraint and self-discipline became exemplary for subsequent moving classes and social strata entering the arena. Modeling of the mental apparatus, rationalization experiences and psychologization ideas are in close connection with changes in the social order. The differentiation of people, the increasing degree of interdependence and the need for concerted action lead to an increase in self-control and self-coercion. It is in this civilizational process, and not in the history of "pure reason" it is necessary to search for the reason for the victory of rationality, prudence and economy in our era.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)