Has History Taught Us Anything About How We Should Live?
Most of the history that we learned in school tell us about wars. We are taught how such-and-such a person or persons struggled for power at a particular time in history. We also learned that civilizations rose and fell, that empires were built, and they collapsed and that virtually nothing is left of them at the present time except ruins and scattered remains…
History clearly tells us that it is foolish to wage wars. Alexander the Great and Hitler were among the greatest war-mongers the world had ever known. They set out to conquer every country that they could lay their hands on. They succeeded to a certain extent, but what was the unavoidable outcome of their mad ambition? They were mortal! They had to die and with their death, their dreams and ambitions perished too. Greece and Germany are no longer the all-powerful nations they once were.
Yet, nations of today continue to wage wars against one another. There are a million excuses offered to justify one nations aggression toward another! In the name of race, creed, religion, economy and self-defense, nations attack one another. Hitler proclaimed the superiority of his Aryan race. Japan believed it was their divine duty to subjugate the barbarians. Religious fanatics murder in the name of God. Each nation imagines itself more superior, better and prouder (if there’s such word) than the others. So the nations of the world continue to be at loggerheads.
Strife prevails! Peace is just a dream…
If any nation will just reflect on the fate of nations before them, they will find that no nation, however great or powerful it may proclaim itself to be, had ever lasted forever! The mystery of the Aztecs, the Mayans, Ancient Egypt, Cathay, Rome and other once great civilizations bear testimony to the fact that all greatness must end. The end may even be total, as in the cases of the legendary Atlantis and the remnants of Stonehenge in England. What were they?How did they end? We can only guess and speculate. We only know that once they were great. They are no longer!
History has pointed out the folly of fighting one another. It tells us that no nation is greater than the next. We are just different. It tells us that wars do not solve anything. War only accelerates the collapse of those who wage it. So instead of trying to dominate one another, it is better to live in peace. Instead of insisting that we are right, it is better to tolerate and realise that we are unique and there is no need to prove anything.
To refrain from war and to live in peace are the simple lessons of history. It would be wonderful if the people of this fragile planet learned these lesson.
However, history also shows that man has never lived in peace before. The chance of peace is as dim as it always had been. So it seems that man is destined to continue his ceaseless struggle against one another. The struggles now will be history. Tomorrow the future generations will study them, realise the folly and wish that further struggles be ended. Then they will put down their history books and continue to struggle as ever before.
Man does not learn from history. We are no different from the war-mongers of yesteryears. Peace remains a dream…