Those Who Study History Are Doomed To Repeat It

October 12, 2018

It’s said that “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.” I agree. I think people who do study history also repeat it.

The original implies that by studying history you’ll learn lessons you can use when faced with a similar situation, but no two situations are identical, only similar. There’s always enough wiggle room for you to convince yourself that this time the lesson doesn’t apply, if the lesson is inconvenient.

You think Hitler didn’t know about Napoleon’s foray into Russia? That Bush didn’t know about Russia’s decade in Afghanistan? This time it’s different, they all said, after spending a lot of time studying history.

So studying history never helps, because it either advises that you should do what you already wanted to do, or it advises the opposite and you can talk yourself out of it.