The past is as we see it

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"Antiquity can be viewed only through the lens of modernity. The image which passes through the lens in order to reach our own sensibilities is one that has been manipulated by our choice of focus and lighting." Eric Havelock, page 117

This was probably one of my favorite quotes from Havelock's entire book. I actually agree with it for the most part, a rarity in my experience. The pesky thing about history, especially ancient history, is that we can't really recreate it or get a good observation on it. Unless it was written down as a first hand account, it's really open to debate.
What's funny about the debate, however, is that because nobody has any real substantial evidence, they're all basically just blowing wind out of their hind ends. Sure there are always going to be some unchanging facts that won't be disputed. Unfortunately, those are few and far between. A person's geography and nationality can have an enormous influence on how they view history. Any intelligent individual can compile enough historical facts together and twist them into their own truth about history. And they will honestly what they present, till death do they part.
Essentially, this shows the greatest lesson of why the development and expansion of written communication was so important then. Anything written down can eliminate the twisted views of people wanting to shape history in their own perspective. If there's hard evidence, any opinions will fall away having been rendered utterly useless. That's also why it's still very important to write things down today, or at least to generate hard copies. We need solid evidence to tell our story on for the countless generations to come. We don't want them telling us what we did any more than previous generations would have wanted us to do to them. We have the opportunity that they did not. Carpe diem, amigos.

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