The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant
Birkenhead born Walter Hicks now lives in Beaverton, Oregon, and works for Nike IHM as a machine operator. He describes himself as a reader that tries to write. “Reading comes first and writing second, as it should do.” He's presently writing a book about the time he worked for David Guardino the self proclaimed “Psychic to the Stars”. “I got an education in the ways of the world, and a walk on the wild side free of charge.” He says.
“If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Will and Ariel Durant make it clear that they can only offer their opinion in this small gem of a book. They have written, and published, thousands of pages on history, and as such their opinion is well worth reading; and in only one hundred pages they manage to sum up the lessons that we might have learned had we taken any notice of their other books.
Imagine you are looking at the world objectively, as a biologist, from a completely different place and time, where a thousand years in Earth time is only a day in your time; and then imagine that you take a few days to study the life of the dominant animal on the planet Earth. A pattern will emerge, a way of things, and you will have no idea at all about the hopes and the dreams of the microscopic animal that we call human beings. You will only see the big picture of life.
In the book they say the first biological lesson is that life is competition. The second biological lesson is that life is selective. The third biological lesson is that life must breed.
Any fool can make things complicated, but it takes genius to make it simple!
“If the human brood is to numerous for the food supply, nature has three agents for restoring the balance: famine, pestilence, and war.”
“The South creates the civilizations, the North conquers them, ruins them, borrows from them, spreads them: this is the summary of history.”
“The climate has a lot to do with progress. Would the white race have done any better in Africa than the black race?”
You can agree with them or disagree with them, but this book is a must read.
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