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End of Recorded History as an End of Oppression:

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End of Recorded History as an End of Oppression:

A Simpler Life with Happiness

"Observe the herd which is grazing beside you. It does not know what yesterday or today is. It springs around, eats, rests, digests, jumps up again, and so from morning to night and from day to day, with its likes and dislikes closely tied to the peg of the moment, and thus neither melancholy nor weary. To witness this is hard for man, because he boasts to himself that his human race is better than the beast and yet looks with jealousy at its happiness".

Most cultures or societies that have existed have some type of recorded history. History is commonly defined as, the aggregate of past events of human affairs; or something that belongs to the past. Marx says, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles". I reject this claim that history of society is only of class struggles, I would counter that history of society is a story of group struggles or personal struggles where one represents a group. Recorded social history tells a story, whether it's written, painted, carved, spoken, or sung. History is also extremely exclusive because it is only told in the eyes of the story teller (historian), but as we all know there are always two sides to the same story. Take the fictional history of, The Three Little Pigs, a children's book. In the version that is told to many young children the wolf is seen as a villain whom does harm against his neighbors, the defenseless little pigs until he is justly defeated by the righteous pigs. But in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs as told by A. Wolf, he is afflicted by a terrible cold and destroys the pigs homes accidentally and is then insulted by the pigs causing his anger. What we learn from this is that history is not objective as many believe but extremely subjective and is told from the perception of the historian, which has been traditionally wealthy white men. How different would the world look if history was told from a woman's perspective instead of a males; would women be the constant to be compared and be the "Other" to be compared to, instead the reverse.

Social history lets us look back, seeing both good and bad things, allowing us to learn from our mistakes and prevent such mistakes from happening in the future; or so we believe. Many believe that by knowing history we can prevent committing the same atrocities that have been done in the past, but this is not true. As the quote by Winston Churchill goes, "If you don't know history then you are doomed to repeat it", this statement is accepted by most without realizing that history is one of the main reasons oppression exists in all societies and why simple happiness can not be found. Are we truly better knowing history when it has been shown we have not learned from our past? If we have learned from history why does slave trade still exist in America, why do totalitarian dictatorships still arise all over the world, or why do political systems that produce gross economic inequality still grow and exist?

Despite the fact that history has given the world many great things it has hurt everyone by perpetuating the cycle of oppression. Some would argue that knowing one's history is very liberating and thus empowering and that not to know history is cruel in some sense. This is not true, history is not liberating it is dangerous and steeped in restriction and determinism. History is dangerous because it puts people into groups by showing them where they come from and what people "like you" went through and or achieved in the past. "Like you" can be seen in the form of wealth or lack there of, social status, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and numerous other things. Once these groups exist through basic tradition or memory it is then enforced by recorded history and groups attain a sense of common consciousness, naturally creating what DeBeauvoir refers to as "Other". The "Other" is then anyone outside of the group conscious. Despite the existence of numerous competing groups conscious people are allowed to be a member of more than one group but always having one essential group conscious. The groups' social hierarchy is then determined by the strongs' membership in certain groups. With this group consciousness feelings such as pride, sorrow, strength, and weakness arise and stay with future generations. An example of traditional strength or pride that arises from history is when people identify as being Caucasian, male, or heterosexual, becoming strong by history. On the opposite side of the spectrum being African American, female, or homosexual is traditionally seen as a source or sign of weakness or a title of victimization. Nietzsche says,

"The living generation always recognizes a juridical obligation towards the earliest generation that founded the race (and this is in no way merely an emotional tie) [Ð'...] conviction prevails that the race only exists by virtue of the sacrifice and achievements of the forefathers and that one is obliged to repay them through sacrifice and achievements [Ð'...] does one ever give them enough".

Nietzsche means that by looking at the past we owe a debt that we should not need to repay. We repay our debt to our forefathers by continuing their traditions, which further restricts our freedom and forces us to live in the past and not the present. Things that happened in the past (history) are still changing things that are happening today. By not transcending history we are thus controlled and limited by it. Remembering the past evokes emotions and feelings about ourselves and the "Other" creating and continuing an arbitrary social hierarchy and creating what Nietzsche refers to as "bad conscience". Once we structure society with the idea of an existing "Other" we begin to treat the "Other" as a means to an end instead of an end in themselves, which is true degradation of the human condition.

Every generation begins to feel less worthy of the past and past generations become morphed into something that they may not have been, becoming better or w worse with every generation. We grow this "bad conscience" due to the fact that we feel guilt or regret for past events that the current generation did not perform or go through, but what the group that we identify with committed or endured. This guilt can be in seeing ourselves as the victimizer or the victim of wrong doing in events such as, slavery, genocide, and institutional prejudice. Also with history people become nostalgic and see the past with reverence



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