Via History

I love exploring history, in all its facets.  If you do too - hello!

What do you love about history?

I love the fact that history helps me to understand the present better.  It helps me to understand trends, statistics, fashions and prejudices.  It therefore helps me to plan for the future.  It sometimes even provides me with the tools with which to develop foresight.

I love the fact that I can accurately compare the achievements of the past with those of the present.

I can compare the injustices of the past with those of the present.

I can see the world through the perspective of time.

Unfortunately, predicting the future is beyond my abilities at present, but I would not want to be a Cassandra.

Of course, I only know a little bit about history at present.  My poor memory means that I often forget much of what I discover, too.  That is why I have created four blogs.  I have to write everything down somewhere.

One of my main interests is art history.  Just the beauty of what has been achieved, not just in the fine arts but also though music, architecture, the textile arts and decorative arts, is a constant source of pleasure.  I wish I had the time to enjoy them more, and to read all the great literature of the past.

I enjoy learning about the history of the culinary arts - and attempt my own experimental reinterpretations of the meals of the past from time to time, but usually only for two diners rather than a gathering for a grand banquet.

The history of ideas is something I love, too.  Myths, legends, beliefs about the origins of the world, and about life itself, are fascinating to compare. Philosophical opinions about morality, truth and reality are wonderful to explore, too, as long as they are written in a simple way I can understand!

I am grateful, in a way, that my family history reveals that none of my ancestors came from a world of privilege.  They were not excessively reckless or careless, either.  They were ordinary, hardworking and, for the most part, honest and brave.  I hope they were also mostly happy.  It seems, from what I have gathered, that they were often cheerful, even in the face of adversity.

History has taught me that various current inequalities in the world usually derive from those of the past, the continuing of attitudes and expectations.  Such unfairness is often perpetuated in the present by people who either do not understand history or have enjoyed an excessively privileged, or selfish, life themselves.

Although I would never wish to destroy the best of the past - the beauty of its cultural and natural heritage - there are many aspects of history we can certainly use to improve the lives of others.  Knowing our family history in the broader context of social, cultural and political history can assist us to understand the present and shape the future.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.