03 August 2014

The Future of History Looks Bleak

If I wiped your memory clean you'd be gone. Assuming that it caused no brain damage and you were able to learn anew, you could conceivably become another you, but that new you devoid of all your old memories would be someone else, about as similar to the old you as any other person on the street.

As they lose their memory, people with Alzheimer's lose their personality. Not only is it true that they begin to have trouble recognizing other people. Other people have trouble recognizing them.

Society is the same way. If you change the story about your past, you change who you are now. History matters because it tells people how they got here and suggests what needs to be preserved and abandoned. Apparently, though, we're losing interest in history, caught up in the now. It could be that people think that things are changing so rapidly that it's best not to be encumbered by history.

This graph shows the diminishing interest in history as tracked by Google. It's down about 80% since 2004.

Just extrapolating this trend, one would have to conclude that the future of history looks bleak. I wonder if that means it's going to be harder to recognize who we are. 

1 comment:

Lifehiker said...

Maybe that's why I was compelled to re-tell the summary story of how Hitler came to power and what happened afterward.