The First Lesson of History, Part of blupete's Essay
"An Essay on History"
Mankind is Continuously Struggling; He is Evolving
"Every thoughtful student of history is confronted by these alternative interpretations. Is there discernible in history taken as a whole anything which we can call progress, or is the record one of an aimless struggle among a species of higher apes, in which any apparent gain is offset by equal or greater loss? The idea of automatic progress must be ruled out at once. No one is so naive as to maintain that from the mathematics of Egypt and Babylon to the philosophy and art of Greece, the jurisprudence of Rome, the theology of the Middle Ages, and the science and social conscience of the modern world runs a continuous line of advance in which each segment represents a clear gain on the last. On the contrary, it is evident that the emergence of Greek civilization from the background of ancient Asia, the appropriation of the Greek achievement by Rome, the decline and fall of Rome before Gibbon's 'barbarism and religion,' and the overthrow of medieval Catholicism by modern commercial civilization were in each case attended by cruel struggles, and in each case created problems which the succeeding order could not solve without creating new ones in their place." [Archibald Robertson, How to Read History (1952) (New York: Ungar, 1963).]
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