Singular or plural?

I’ve been arguing with few friends of mine over many topics, and I remember one we almost got angry at each other. We were talking about history and relativity of it, and although we all agreed that History is written by the victorious ones, we couldn’t agree on who is making the history.

         The first thesis was easy – people tend to be seen as individualistic entities, free from others’ influences. But it’s a myth. There is no single person who can claim that he/she is free from the influence of other people, it’s simply impossible. Human nature is to incorporate alien experiences and ideas into your own blood circle. We learn throughout our lifetime. We abandon something that ceased to fulfill our needs. Simple. And I came across some statements giving as the example kids that have grown up in the jungle (oh yes, big black panther saved them, wolf gave its milk, weird thing no whale-human family in this picture), and supposedly those kids were free from society’s rules. Yes, but they are not entirely free from ANY rules, my dear ladies and gents. Whoever told you that animals don’t have rules was stupid and I challenge this idiot to a duel. They have, wolves are really well organized in a pack, apes as well (don’t know much on apes, cause I hate them), so claiming that a kid has grown up in such environment as tabula rasa is pure nonsense. The kid adapts to the society in which one grows up, be it the human society, animals, or, the ultimate one – fangirls.
And here we are close to the main problem – history. Is history created by individuals or by many?
            Some of us who took part in this rhetoric feud were on the “singular perch”, the others were on “plural perch”, as we called it. History, as we are taught about, is made of famous names, Caesar, Hannibal, Nebuchadnezzar, Henry VIII, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, etc. They made the history, they changed the history, they distorted the history. People who don’t like history say: “Oh it’s only dates and names”. Names of the places, names of the people. True, talented individuals are like the pebble that moves the avalanche. But what is this avalanche? Is it single snowflake? No, billions of them. Only then they can form a deadly weapon of nature.
The same goes for people. Individuals are like stepping stones, brilliant but powerless. They would end up as no one if they didn’t have thousands following them. Those nameless thousands who are so eager to give up their lives for someone else’s wish. Such individuals always appear in the times of darkness and uncertainty. They play the role of a beacon light. They show the way, but the beacon fire is useless when there is no one to guide, no one to lead, and no place to lead to.
            Julius Caesar – his dictatorship was in a crucial times for Rome. If it wasn’t for him, there wouldn’t be the Empire as we know it. He came just in the right time. And he paved the road for August, Tiberius, Caligula, and others. If it wasn’t for senate in Rome, neither August nor later Tiberius would end up as emperors or at least they would be less powerful. Every time I’m home, I read I, Claudius by Robert Graves. I do like Antiquity, so immersing myself for a day in such book is a nice journey to the times of horror. Great individuals here lost because they didn’t have other people behind their back.
           Hitler grasped the power in a very favorable moment, people were angry, disappointed and easy to be moved. They needed someone to lead them, for better or for worse. And the man came. You know, it’s not like I’m praising this monster, but he got some great influence on people and knew how to move their hearts. And mob doesn’t think with the head but with a heart. The same goes for crowds during the gladiators fights. Mob could force its decision on Caesars! If no one followed Hitler, there wouldn’t be such mass hysteria like that. It would be just failed dream of a man. He had millions supporting him and only those millions got him the victory.
And don’t let me start on Stalin. He’s one of the worst in 20thcentury. Maybe only Pol-Pot is beating him, but not sure.

     To fully understand history – don’t rely on school books only. They have to be concise, and for most of the people they are just names and dates. Read the whole history environment, as I call it. You like caesars’ period in Rome? So don’t sit on your 3-letters but read Swetonius, Tacitus, Marcus Aurelius, Julius Caesar, modern books on such period. And don’t blame history classes. They have to be just names and dates.

So my final words would be like that: Individuals are like head. Head thinks and receives the stimulus. But without arms and legs it can do nothing. Arms don’t think, they crush the stone though.

About ethlenn

Just usual suspect
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9 Responses to Singular or plural?

  1. alexe says:

    Singular and plural .

  2. peggybrad says:

    Funny thing is that history has at least two sides and sometimes more. It depends which country you lived in at the time history was being made. You certainly would have a different thought about winning and losing and what happened and when it happened. Then come the reasons for happenings. Consequently by the time a few hundred and then a few thousand years have passed, history is a different story altogether. Then you read books by people who have different political ideas and history becomes a jigsaw puzzle. I do know that after WWII there were no Nazis who admired Hitler except the ones who were captured and were tried as War Criminals. I wonder how he got to be what he was? No-one wanted to own him then when the war was a loss for him. So what is history?
    It just depends who is telling the story.

  3. peggybrad says:

    Therefore I have to agree with Alexe.

    Had to think about it.

  4. ara says:

    Hmm I think you ask a political rather than a historical question…cause as Peg said history is just a story that changes depending on who tells it. Even if we like to say we rely on facts, the presentation of the facts is what matters, like what facts are included and excluded…
    But if you ask who makes these facts, who shapes politics, economics, society I'd say it's the zeitgeist which lets certain ideas become popular or which leads to situations where people and system allow a strong character to appear and stirr the world for some time. But in my opinion that's more the exception than the rule. Especially nowadays where I sometimes wonder if history isn't made by companies and fonds instead of some mighty rulers…
    damn I gotta run, let's discuss this on msn soon if you like 😉 Have a nice day!

  5. Ethlenn says:

    Discussing this on msn would be my plaesure.
    And you have a point with modern history, it's more like companies, and not the rulers. Weird, I never thought about it this way.
    And I agree with Peggy, history does have more than one side.

  6. alexe says:

    I don't like it when we speak of states , systems or companies or society . There is always only people there and their greed , ubris . What I like in k-dramas ( apart from many other things ) is that they often expose that greed .
    Nothing can minimize one' responsibility . Nothing must dilute it .Computers may rule by their own 80% of Stock Exchange transactions , they are programmed by men and for men .

  7. peggybrad says:

    regarding the heading photo..I think that history then was governed by passions and men looking for rewards and position. Very tactical and easier to understand no matter who was telling the story of what happened. Now it is very different. History is told for strategy. The actions that take place are well thought out ahead, in those strategic plans over green baize tables. Tthus the story told for public knowledge is not at all what is really behind the plotting. The history may never be told in truth. Years later it becomes distorted again and again, from notes found etc etc. The true history is only known to those who are actually making it.

  8. alexe says:

    You are making history – even by writing on this blog ; it means something and it is an event .

  9. Ethlenn says:

    We ALL are making the history.

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