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Readers respond: what are the lessons of history and why do we not teach them? | Life and style

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What are the lessons of history and why do we not teach them? Thomas Jefferson Knowland, Yorkshire

Send new questions to nq@theguardian.com.

Readers respond

“The only reason we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history” (Friedrich Hegel). “Stories make people wise” (Francis Bacon). True, I suspect it lies somewhere in the middle. Johannes07051833

Einstein perfectly said that the definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. So we don’t learn from history lessons because we’re crazy. As for what these lessons are, Einstein’s quotes without evidence should be attributed here. BellaTheCook

A striking example is the economics of flows, which failed in three separate centuries from the 19th onwards, but Rishi Sunak still intends to revive in a different guise. Another is lowering the corporate tax in hopes that companies will invest in jobs. The United States has tried to do so, and it has largely happened that the salaries of directors have risen even higher, and companies have spent tax cuts on the repurchase of their shares. Another good example is the idea that increasing penalties reduces crime. Germany believed that the best solution was to detect and catch more criminals. diagenesphan

Oh, yes, but I think you’re making a mistake in whether people who offer flow economy really thought it would work, or were interested in it. Paulo777

Punishing the poor will not make them rich. yeah

Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Sagarmatha1953

I think the most important lesson that history has given us is that a competent leader is an essential figure for the population. Sophia Batafarana

Never go back for a handbag. Gryphon

Don’t follow leaders and keep an eye on parking. Simon Kennedy

Many ways to make money harm the planet. Many of us study, but money individuals and shareholders don’t do it because they believe their money is more important. Unfortunately for all of us, they will eventually find out. Nora Boswell

There are many lessons that are indisputable. The U.S. economy experienced a crash after a crash until banking was regulated during the Great Depression, and then when those rules were repealed under Reagan, they returned to the roller coaster. In fact, it is no secret. I know Republicans are trying to ignore this, but it’s not so much based on a different view of history as “Don’t look there!” Thomas1178

If there is one lesson that can be learned from history, not from our personal experience, it is that there seems to be no limit to the brutality, sadism and selfishness that people will allow themselves to show once they are in a position to do so. and no one hinders them. Aireman

Every generation thinks that the challenges they face are unique, and don’t for a moment imagine that any person or society has ever faced the same dilemma. Thus, any possible lessons of the past are discarded or not even taken into account with the attitude “what was then is now”. The solution is there, it has been used before, just see if the past can provide answers. Lycurgianitis

This is usually what you say when you lost an argument last time. So now you want the next generation to do the same thing again on your behalf, ideally with a large dose of “I told you so”. Mickey Finn

History is the only unique process from which we can learn nothing. John Owens

Learning is both an intellectual and an emotional process. It is emotional learning that often plays a big role in changing behavior. We can learn intellectual lessons from history textbooks, but not emotional lessons. Macstobs

The study of history involves at least two different perspectives: looking at the present as we read and observe what has happened in the past; and a look at the past itself, what they said, did, felt, experienced at the time. The closest and best analogy I can think of is like parallax: “The effect in which the position or direction of an object changes when the object is viewed from different positions” (OED entry for parallax). Therefore, there are very few absolute history lessons. (One absolute lesson we have learned and are still learning is that human rights are universal and unquestionable.) There is much to be learned from history, both for the present and for our past. But what are these lessons? It is too early to talk about most things. Chris Laughlin

It was only when I went to the European Hansmuseum in Lübeck, Germany, that I realized that the trading system they had built about 700 years ago was very complex; Then I wondered what people could have had such complex ideas then, and then wondered why I thought these people were somehow stupider than me. Then I realized that people are doomed to the same mistakes forever because we are outrageously arrogant. Pride and complacency are our downfall. raidspin

There is no such thing as “history lessons”. At best, it is a comparison between what we believe happened according to an imperfect way of writing history, and what we think could have happened if different decisions had been made. In other words, no real value at all. AlGlagov

“Science allows people to meet their needs. It does nothing to change them. Today they are no different from what they always were. There is progress in knowledge, but not in ethics. It is the verdict of science, history and the view of each of the world’s religions. ” (John Gray, Straw Dogs). Violator

Because the very rich and powerful are promoting the idea that “history is a clump” so that they can continue as before. ThePunkOpaque

We really teach history lessons; so society as a whole is richer, healthier, more peaceful and more enduring than hundreds of years ago or even decades ago. People may say that it is largely related to science and technology, but these are the two most important tools we have developed to help us learn and solve lessons and problems of history. Shortdercook

I’ve noticed that history and religion are similar in that people choose parts that support what they want to believe in and ignore anything that contradicts. Today’s social networks and others support this exponentially. Wilson Makivar, Virginia

The practice of teaching history lessons is fraught with difficulties; everything is changing, making a direct comparison difficult. Given the breadth and depth of history that exists as a collection of interpretive practices rather than a collection of facts, the obvious lessons will also vary from author to author. This is directly relevant to why the “lessons” are not learned; quite often the main thing that needs to be taken out of the event is the continuation of the marginalization of minorities or those who are out of power, in order to maintain a certain public order. Because until relatively recently, history was mostly written by people who benefited from this marginalization, readers of their texts are unlikely to have learned the lesson of how power works, because their history was intended to obscure these functions and make their social status “natural.” . TLDR: history is about power, and power likes to aggregate power within itself. Mitch Goodram, Oxford

We can’t master history,
it stalks too close behind.
We live and learn
then die and forget
and so it slips out of our minds.
Bernard Towers, Norfolk

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