On Reading and Understanding History, a Short Take... by 🕯GBG📚

© History is loaded with useless  books  written by, paid, prejudiced and sometimes crazy people.

Thus history unless most critically studied can never be a reliable and objective account of the past, as subjective judgement and opinion are by default embedded in it.

My effort as a teacher and a student, has always  been to make stuff as concise and precise as possible, for ease of understanding, so what do I suggest in terms of understanding history.

I suggest, the first thing you do is to  get hold of a book called,  'The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History', by Isaiah Berlin.

Berlin has explained in this book Leo Tolstoy's approach to history, which I fully endorse. He explains that Tolstoy was driven by a  desire to penetrate up to the original causes, to be able to understand how and why, things happened as they did,  and not otherwise.

 If we are to learn from the past, the account of it,  has to be true, or our understanding of it, won't be true aswell. IF this approach is not followed,  you might be preparing for a wrong battle, a battle of which, the map that you have, may not be representing  reality.

Most of the people do not understand that having a map.of a terrain is different than reality, and thus a recce of the terrain is a must.

Similarly any history book is only a map of a terrain, as it was in past, and has certainly changed as on today, as have the circumstances that triggered the historical events.

So a study of all possible maps, and all possible direct or indirect information,  and a recce of historical terrain via minds of great scholars, as to how they precieve truth to be, is  of paramount importance to study of history, and even then, one may wisely chose to remain sceptical.

 People with some reading of vague historical accounts, and some hearsay knowledge, will only enter the  terrain of truth, to find deserts where the mountains have been reported to be.

This “problem of historical truth” is explored by Isaiah Berlin in The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History. He explains Tolstoy's  “desire to penetrate to first causes, to understand how and why things happen as they do and not otherwise.”

Thus not only in terms of history, but in all enquiries human, we must follow the Tolstoyian method of approaching the truth.

As per Tolstoy, “ History is Nothing but a collection of fables and useless trifles. History does not reveal causes; it presents only a blank succession of unexplained events.

Thus study of any historical event  is a waste of time, other than for trivia games or pub quizzes,  if you do not understand as to why it happened in the first place.
📚तत्त सत्त श्री अकाल🚩
✒Guru Balwant Gurunay⚔

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