Humanity Endures as History Swings

Hands at the Cuevas de las Manos upon Río Pinturas by Mariano via Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrow, March 1st, marks the start of Women’s History Month. How appropriate to initiate a blog about women through time. We’ll call this, my initial post, a pre-launch.

I have long been fascinated with what prompts us to behave the way we do as a species. From a young age, I observed people and considered their actions and motivations. I was a pseudo-psychologist/sociologist years before I understood the meaning of the words. As an adult, I’ve become a bit of a history buff. I didn’t appreciate the subject in school but, over time, my have eyes opened to its power.

George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” which has also been paraphrased as, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I don’t fully agree with this premise as I believe we humans remain the same at our core. Science, politics and religion may change how we interact with one another and how we perceive our surroundings, but our base instincts are ingrained. Different generations bubble up new ‘truths’ and sway moral sentiment. They are astonished at the cruelty of others, or pass judgement on ‘outsiders.’ These and other various patterns have been mixed and re-packaged through time. Humans have always been inquisitive, creative, passionate, loving, cruel, intolerant, warring creatures. I’ve often considered the idea that society swings, like a pendulum, from one extreme to the other. We advance, certainly, but how close are we to swinging back to a Dark Age? I believe that to learn from history, we must also stay attuned to our base instincts and be aware of repeating patterns.

Within this blog, I plan to expand and challenge the premise that we are not so different through the ages, and to celebrate historical figures who embody the best of our humanity and shine a light for future generations. As my point of view is female, I will focus on women. Each post will include an image of ‘A Woman in Time’ with historic or literary reference, some commentary, and hopefully interviews as I go along. I welcome your thoughts on the subject.

© 2014, A Woman in Time