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Thread: Historical inevitability

  1. #1
          ablarc's avatar
    Nov 2003
    East Coast

    Historical inevitability


    Of all doctrines unleashed by the ponderous German philosophers of the Nineteenth Century the most fatuous and harmful has proved to be the doctrine of historical inevitability, with its faithful companion, Zeitgeist.

    These shopworn but durable dogmas today provide kneejerk justification for all manner of cop-outs and evasions, from “you can’t build durable buildings in this century” to “you can’t build transit until the demand emerges.”


    Good thing no one told Alexander the Great the news that he was bound by history; or maybe he would have retired to his couch to recline and eat grapes. The inevitability of Michelangelo and Beethoven is chiefly visible in hindsight; and it took a whole bevy of determined men to bring to fruition the “inevitable” metamorphosis of enlightened liberal thought into the American Republic.

    Need we be reminded of that other now so richly discredited historical-inevitability gospel concocted by… you know… the august 19th Century German philosopher Marx?
    And speaking of Germans, his countryman, Adolf set out to change the world, and did exactly that --through the sheer exercise of will. (Change it he did, though not perhaps exactly as he intended.) And of course Arnold’s inevitable course was evident to all who witnessed his birth in Austria.

    So next time someone tells you you can’t use a classical motif because this is the Twenty-First Century, or you can’t utilize the principles that created a traditional American town, look him squarely in the eye and say: “Hogwash!”

    History does often teach us that you have to go back to the future. That's how there was a Renaissance, a Reformation, and a Romanesque Revival.

    The dismal doctrine of historical inevitability grips only on the minds of the mindless.

    Oh, alright: also the complacent and the lazy.

    * * *

    Two men who got things done:

    “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.”
    --Henry Ford

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    -- George Bernard Shaw

    Last edited by ablarc; 02 Jan 2005 at 12:36 PM.

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