Historical Consciousness

July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

So, I’m reviewing and revising a textbook right now (not mine, I’m just the outside expert).  In this textbook, in the Introduction, I have come across the following passage, which I find amusing.  I’m not sure I agree entirely with the idea, but it is an intriguing one for someone who lives in Québec and is a citizen of Canada and who studies Irish history:

In essence, reflecting on human reality means reflecting on ourselves, since we are all humans and nothing in the human experience is completely foreign to us. In this sense, history is to groups of people what psychology is to individuals.  Imagine an historian talking to his “patient”:

You suffer from a colonization complex, compounded by a repressed rebellion and a weak constitution. I recommend that you go through a major political crisis every ten or fifteen years over the next 100 years. Then you should feel a bit better. But your past will follow you until the end of your days, in one way or another. You’ll be better off if you accept it right away.

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