There was never history. It was always about the present.
This is the best insight I got from the movie, “The History Boys”. I shall quote Tom Irwin when he said, “But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don’t see it, and because we don’t see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian’s jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be… even on the Holocaust. ”
I don’t think there is even a need to elaborate the latter. The words were clear and straightforward.
We look back and see things in our perspective. Our perspective is because of what is happening around us at present. We have no right to claim we know or understand how the nomads lived and first settled beside the river of Ganges, nor do we have the right to judge Hitler or Stalin. We do not even know if the history we know of holds true or is simply a fiction written by Homer when he was bored of Illiad. Rene Descartes would even scare you by saying that everything you see and come to know is a mere projection of your mind. Although I believe that Descartes is some sort of nut job and considering things only at the end of the spectrum.
Have you also noticed that History is all about man’s victories and incapability with women following around carrying a bucket, as Dorothy would describe? It is patriarchal, therefore, biased. So can we really rely on the knowledge we have of our past?
I do not suggest that we burn our history books because, everything should be represented, therefore named— the reason why Thomas Hardy made a poem about the soldier named, “Drummer Hodge”.
We know of the past, but we will always know so little.