This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
This paper asks the question: "does historical awareness lead to a negative assessment of human nature?" I don't know, this is just a topic that fits with the mood that has been prevalent in me for a long time. Both free will and determinism can fit in that mood. For example, determinism means that all has been written or planned out before by some para-cosmic entity, call it God or the flying spaghetti monster, or fate, so it is pointless to fight one's destiny. But this is too big and vague and probably pointless. By determinism, we just need to look at economic determinism or technological determinism as examples. These are really forms of pessimism, in much the same way that free will also is tinged with pessimism. One needs to recall the insistence of the existentialists of the absurdity and inherent meaninglessness and valueless-ness of existence, that in the end, it falls to the individual, not to society, the state, the church or some other allegedly moral entity, to decide for his or her own world, or meaning, or anything really. Will itself is blind, as Schopenhauer has claimed. Pessimism and history. Wars and genocides, rapes, murders, human experimentation, torture, the Inquisition, human sacrifice, cannibalism, starvation, madness, religious hypocrisy, famine, natural calamities. Yes of course this could be a sign of a morbid personality.1 After all, why focus on the negative when you are not doing anything to stop these things from happening? Why not simply tend to your own garden, as that guy from Candide says? The problem is knowledge, when you know of misery, and you cannot turn it off, because you remain true to yourself, that you cannot simply shut the suffering world off. Blame the media – the news, the internet, television, for this. But this is the reality of modern existence, you have constant knowledge of events around the world, though except those ones withheld or are too insignificant (who determines this anyway?) to be recorded by the cameras or written in blogs and magazines and newspapers. Technology has made it easy for the information-hound to seek news and tidbits of trivia and information,
Some keyword and concepts or ideas to focus on history, historiography, literature, writing, early spanish period, nietzsche, schopenhauer, postmodernism, pessimism, will above reason, religion, belief, superstition, mentality, sympathy, burckhardt, meditation, contemplation, anarchism, buddhism, existentialism, blair and robertson, humanism, torture, military, genocide, disease, death, magic realism, horror, genre, science fiction, gattaca, chronicles of riddick, film, historiophoty, nostalgia
Watched this Russian movie The Thief (1997), about a young beautiful widowed mother whose husband died in WWII. While on a train to visit some relatives, she falls in love with this guy who turns out to be a criminal, a thief. She dies from peritonitis after a botched abortion near the end of the movie, several months after the guy he fell in love with was caught by the police and sent to a gulag, leaving her little son to face the world alone. My interpretation is that it is war that is the thief that is referred to in the movie's title, not the actual thief. It is war that robbed the girl of her husband, robbed her son of his father, basically it destroyed their family. The point I am making here is that it's one depressing film which is based on historical events.
and the problem is, how does one make sense of all these? This paper asks the question: "what is the proper relationship between literature and historical method and writing?" literary theory of history. history as narrative. hayden white. This paper aims to focus on the methods by which religious and secular spanish officers during the early colonization of the Philippines imposed order among subordinates. Given the hazards that the trip from the Latin American colonies to the Philippines posed, as well as the physical distance from the mother country, how did those given with authority impose and maintain order among their ranks? It will look at the rules followed by the secular and the rules followed by the religious authorities. How was transgression dealt with? It is my thesis that: there are variations of control, of imposing punishment to those who transgressed the rules. However this is a negotiable thing with many factors to consider, most significant I guess, is the distance. Both geographic and metaphorical. By the latter I mean, does geographic distance diminish or increase control? Of course it does not, that is why control is extended by delegating authority to those nearby, to those appointed or chosen - Magellan for example, during the first explorations (1520s), then Miguel Lopez de Legazpi during the building phase in the 1570s with the beginnings of the colonial state in the Philippines. i had this idea before of an 'exploration' of the similarities between the literary and historical mindsets. by this i mean the method, or techniques employed by the historian and the writer in their respective crafts. this will look also at the historian as an artist of some sort. obviously i cannot go through this haphazardly. i need a solid understanding of the implications as well as the concepts involved. for this i need to discuss what i mean by the 'literary' which is necessary in historical writing. how can i add to this? what is my thesis? my thesis, which i will present and i will defend using examples and evidence, will be that historical writing needs to arouse the sympathy of the reader/audience without 'doing too much damage
Figure 1.1 Kitana Baker (right) with friend I am currently interested in formatting using Open Office, and of basically formatting or layouting pages in general. The tool I am using for this is Open Office, and the guiding philosophy or ideas are from Prof. Edward Tufte, who has this idea of using side-notes instead of footnotes and endnotes. http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/qand-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0000ld Though there are several critical observations regarding the effect this innovation might have on the reading public, personally I think it a novel and interesting idea that can be used to make better and interesting layouts for books and journals and thesis. Also, he has a good point regarding the use of the Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation Program. This can be seen here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11. 09/ppt2.html [accessed Sept 1, 2011] Sept. 7 2011 edit: regarding formatting, it is of great relevance and coincidence that I started reading the novel House of Leaves this week. I am now beyond 200 pages. The formatting of this book is really creative, and much can be learned from looking at it. For example. The footnotes, instead of being outside the main text could just simply be placed in a box within the main body of the text. The novel is weird in its formatting, the plot is interesting. Magical realism, horror. Main character seems to be modeled after Henry Miller. The prose is much better than Miller's though. First person. Use of footnotes reminds me of Pierre Bayles's Dictionary.
to the facts,' as chomsky would say.2 this means that writing must first be focused on. at a human level, love of books and of reading and writing must be fostered for the aspiring historian. there would then be, in my paper, an analysis of the author(by this i mean, the historian and the writer) - book relationship. another idea is to start with the available sources first. in my case, the most accessible sources are the blair and robertson volumes and the la solidaridad newspaper volumes. this would mean that i could focus on the early period of spanish colonization of the philippines, and, based on the la solidaridad volumes, on the propaganda movement. another project that can be done using the la solidaridad volumes would be some sort of literary analysis of the writings of the propagandistas. earlier, like several months before, i had the idea that i would focus on the writings of antonio luna whose alias in the newspaper was tagailog. his writings are far more literary than rizal's. he presents a much more interesting and comparatively light-hearted point of view regarding the relations between the mother-country and the colony (philippines). this would then be a literary history of the philippines, or a history of ideas. a good source to be consulted: resil mojares. what I intend to do then is an intellectual history of the propaganda movement, specifically, their most progressive thought that I can find in the La Solidaridad volumes in the library. It would then be a comparative study of the thoughts of the major propagandistas of that time – Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, the Lunas, etc. How far did they go in their calls towards change? Why did they not turn left, that is, anarchistic or communistic in orientation (this is an interesting question since the Propagandistas are never portrayed today as being part of that strain of revolutionary thought. Their memories cannot be appropriated for example, by followers of those leftist ideologies during the present time), since Marxist and anarchist thoughts were already extant by this point in Europe for more than a few decades? This necessitates a look at the anarchist and Marxist movements in Spain during the time that the Propagandistas of La Solidaridad were in Spain, that is, from the 1880s to the 1890s. It would be useful to see what the Propagandistas wrote of the historical events during that time – for example, the assassination of Russia's Tsar Alexander II by the terrorist organization Narodnaya Volya (of which Lenin's older brother was a member). I have initially read of Luna's writings regarding prostitutes in Spain. It appears that he has, to a certain extent, progressive ideas regarding the role of women in society. Though this is still uncertain and would necessitate a thorough study of his writings, and could be a part of the thesis, a chapter perhaps: “Propagandistas on Women” or “Progressive Views on Women of the
2 Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy (South End Press, 1992), Introduction.
Figure 1.2 A is for Anarchist. How progressive were the Propagandistas? Why are they not associated today with leftism in the Philippines? What were their thoughts on the proper role of women in society? (See Figure 1.1)
Propagandistas.” there should be a counter of course to this search for progressive thinking among the Propagandistas, as it could be possible that they still had or harbored non-progressive thoughts regarding the role and status of women in society. What they said regarding the role of women in the context of the family would be interesting to look at, as one litmus test of a progressive viewpoint is on the proper role of women in the family. Of the numerous books and journals that I have downloaded and read, I really only understood a few of them. The Cambridge Companion to Philosophy and Historiography has some interesting articles, but mostly they are too sophisticated and complicated for me and my purposes. Also, there was no humor in it, though why I should be looking for humor in an academic work I have no idea. I am just really bored, or being bored by the writings inside that book. The early articles especially are beyond my comprehension. What I am reading more of though are works that are of little relevance to what I should be focused on. Currently, I am mid-way through the fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire. The prose is not that interesting though it serves its purpose. It is the world-building of George R.R. Martin and the many sub-plots in the books that really makes the series interesting. There is nothing experimental or avant-garde about the books. Only a few characters are truly interesting. The point here is that people who write journal articles should condescend and make their prose accessible to the majority of the population, not just to fellow specialists. review of breisach's historiography ancient medieval and modern Ernst Breisach's Historiography: Ancient, Medieval and Modern (1983) is a pleasure to read. Breisach traces a bold line starting from the ancient epics of Greece, to the historical writings of Herodotus and Thucydides, to the time which focused on the writings of the histories of the polis. breisach's account starts with the period of legends and epics: the iliad and the odyssey. the figures presented were greater than life. gods were discussed. the type of language was for an elevation of the events, so that people would take a revential attitude towards the events discussed, not just by virtue of the fantastic events. then came the period of the histories of herodotus which focused now more on the humanistic aspect, though it did not totally discount the role of the gods as well. it was also the beginning or a precursor or origin of what is now called cultural history, as herodotus travelled across the neighbouring countries and kingdoms and empires then and recorded the ways of life of the various peoples he encountered, ranging even 4
towards the fantastic. h's account ends with the presentation of the great persian war. the significance of the persian war was that it united the greeks against a common outside enemy. the conflict served as a unifying force for the greeks to identify themselves as greeks. thucydides' account is of the peloponnesian war. thucydides' emphasis was on politics and the military, his aim being the explanation of the causes of the peloponessian war, that is, the fratricidal war between athens and sparta and their respective allies. thucydides' account is more sophisticated than herodotus' since t. gave importance to primary accounts. what must also be said is that while h.'s focus was broad, t.'s was narrow and compact, as he is mostly focused on the affairs of the greeks. besides that, many of the participants of the historical events he writes about are still alive, so he can still go and ask them about the events. the period of hellenism. the demise of the poleis [at least this is how I think the plural form of polis is] due to internal wranglings led to the rise of the northern macedonians. philip II conquered greece and imposed a unity, which was met with disdain by the greeks who thought of the macedonians as somewhat barbaric. alexander, son of philip's rise and creation of a vast empire which brought greek culture to the east, going so far as india. then the dissolution of that empire into the diadochi, that is successor kingdoms headed by his generals. there was ptolemaic egypt, seleucid babylonia, among others. the greeks met peoples with histories far older than their own. Another random though on topic search “I have been pursuing a topic for my paper, and I had the idea that maybe this paper would be a historiographic, instead of just being a straight up historical one. This would be interesting and is a way for me of shirking from the task of actually looking for primary data. The idea is to apply the ideas of Schopenhauer and maybe other related thinkers, such as Nietzsche, Burckhardt and Spengler on the subject of history. What have these guys said about history? Specifically I want to look at something regarding the themes of 'cycles' or the idea that history occurs in circles, that it 'repeats itself.' Also another word is 'pessimism.' Does a historical consciousness, that is, a knowledge of the history of mankind, incline one towards a pessimistic interpretation of human events? And the contrary point of view, that is, the inherent goodness of human nature, can this be seen, or be believed when one is aware of what people have done all the time that they have been on this planet? I can maybe apply 'eastern' ideas into this, borrowing from the philosophies of buddhism, taoism, confucianism and other philosophies from china and india. [that history occurs in cycles is actually a psychological perspective applied in history. this idea is presented in the literary field by the 5
concept of 'tropes' as presented by joseph campbell, which i understand is somewhat similar to the concept of 'archetype' which was expounded with much more detail by the influential psychologist c.g. jung. both these come from an analysis and understanding of mythologies. archetypes are those characters that recur in narratives and has universal presence. campbell focused on comparative mythology. while jung focused on the application of archetypes for the understanding and enrichment of the individual.] The image of the first and second world wars come to mind all the time. These are iron truths in history nowadays. The Mass Killings of the Jewish People and other Unwanteds by the National Socialists of Germany, the atrocities of the Japanese in East and Southeast Asia (On the part of Japan there was the infamous Unit 731, a specific unit within a branch of the Japanese Imperial Forces that focused on chemical and biological warfare and conducted live human experimentations on civilians and captured combatants), the subsequent atomic bombings by the Americans of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”3 “they cynical attitude in historical writing voltaire, the eighteenth century french philosophe once wrote that 'history is nothing but a pack of tricks the living play on the dead.' though an entertaining perception about history, there is a lacunae of research regarding the interaction between this particular attitude expressed by voltaire and of historical writing. the paper will be a historiographic one therefore. it will focus as well on the related attitude known as skepticism, which will be defined as that epistemological attitude which arose during the late greek period (?). this is also related to the skeptical tradition in historical writing. literature/fiction as /the/ [a] gateway to history history is often perceived as boring. literature is well known for great writing. there are a lot of historical novels. this paper will explore the interaction between fiction and history. of the facts and how these are utilized by the author of the novel to create a compelling narrative. the origin of this topic was when the researcher was walking and thinking by the catholic chapel in u.p. diliman, about st. mother teresa of calcutta, which is connected to the recent news reports of the beatification of the deceased Pope John Paul II. then he thought about calcutta or kolkata. then he thought about all those depictions of
3 This portion is culled from a much longer piece of writing of mine (which is entitled and starts with the phrase 'each day I don't play') which is about table tennis. How it came about that I ended up writing about my history topic search for my thesis may be of interest to some, but a bore to most. So leave it at that. The work can be found among the various snippets of thoughts and half- baked stuff in my writings folder in my laptop. - ruf.
calcutta he read in various novels, namely that particular gothic short story by american author poppy z brite, and that novel entitled 'song of kali' another horror story. being a history major, he then thought how this will have relevance in historical writing. and the idea appeared that often he arrives at an understanding of various historical events through the various novels he has read. historical events mentioned in such works of fiction as don quixote, or les miserables, or during the 1960s that of garcia marquez's 'cien anos de soledad.' the paper will argue that historical writing and reading should take as inspiration these works of fiction in order to colour the narrative. this is not to say that the historian should give up on the facts altogether. contrariwise, it is a given that the historian will give primacy to the facts. what will be explored at in this paper are the various methods used by fiction writers which can be employed by the historian in order to write a compelling narrative.”4 historiographic research ideas 2 “this. [by 'this' what is commented on is herman paul's explanation as to why nietzsche was characterized by hayden white as an 'ironic thinker' (as it is the stated project of white's metahistory that the work is an attempt to transcend the irony that has permeated the present period). herman says that white characterizes nietzsche as an ironic thinker "because he judged historical representations not so much by standards of truth but rather from the standpoint of a human will to power." (page 37.)] i've been wanting to write something regarding history as a product of human will to power. i want to trace nietzsche's idea from schopenhauer, from which he obviously took some inspiration. also, i would like to compare his ideas on history and history-writing to that of his older contemporary, jacob burckhardt as well. i have made some preliminary notes/sketches/ writings regarding this somewhere. need to find it. what are the implications of nietzsche's idea of will to power on history? (event and writing) we have to remember that this is a generalism, that is, it is a metaphysical treatment of the world, an attempt to describe it all. all of it. we have then to first analyze or look at what schopenhauer meant by this 'will'. will is elevated by schopenhauer above reason. history does not unfold in a logical, reasonable manner, but is rooted in human instincts, which i take to be what he means by 'will.' this is then 'will to survive.' this is a counter to hegel's idea of the continuous progress of reason. (read on german idealism) need to read more regarding this thought of schopenhauer. what other writers, besides nietzsche and burckhardt,
4 This part was written much earlier and in here is presented here in its entirety. Again, this is one of the floating items in my writings folder, in my laptop.
did schopenhauer influence? flavor. there is a distinct flavor to all these historians or thinkers of history. there is a pessimistic turn to their thoughts on history. the idea, for example, that history is cyclical. this to me seems to be because of a belief in human nature, which is logical since these historical thinkers emphasized the concept of will. will as a philosophical concept that is applied in history (whole of human history, not historical writing). human will, or human nature, is constant, and this leads to events that, although they may be different outside, is the same on the inside, that is, the motivations remain the same. and at bottom, the most primal motivation is survival (?). this is subject to debate, of course, yet is crucial in the historical worldview that thinkers of these types are trying to make. oswald spengler can also be counted as an example of these kinds of thinkers of history. what i intend to write though is more of a covert than an overt thing. i want to show pessimism, not tell what it is. that is, i want to convey what i feel. i want to convey a flavor of thought or point of view.”5 Dejavu Serif Condensed is a good font “The study of history teaches one to empathize with the people from the past that he or she is studying. The whole discipline then is basically this effort to put one's self in the position of those who lived before. Standing with that person's shoes, trying to understand that particular moment in that person's life, what could the historian say? What the historian knows in the first place depends on the amount and quality of material or sources that has passed down from the past to the present. Besides determining that the material is authentic, it must also be determined that the material or document or source is useful. When writing a narrative, there is the feeling that certain facts simply 'fit' with what has already been known about the person or event being studied. This is not just a gut-feeling thing, though this cannot be dismissed as well. This mindset arises out of the experience of the historian, is born out of the act of practicing the craft. The historian then works within already existing narratives. He or she must make sure that what can be said fits within that narrative, and that any straying from the general tone or flavor of the
5 This started as an Okular pdf-reader software note while reading 'Tropes for the Past: Hayden White and the History / Literature Debate.' you can look for it on page 37 of the book/pdf] – ruf.
various narratives arises only out of the discovery of new evidence, or through looking at already existing sources and discovering things that have been overlooked or was not given that much important or emphasis by other historians. The big question is why in the first place does the historian choose to empathize with certain peoples, ideas or events in the past? This is not just asking about the historian's interest, but is also a question, a challenge to the historian to justify his profession. Motivations vary among individuals. The shallowest reason could be simple interest regarding a particular person or event in the past. But of course this is not enough justification that the historian should spend his or her time studying the subject. Besides monetary gain, what are the reasons that inclines the historian to choose his subject of historical study? The biggest reason that could be put forth is moral in orientation. It is not enough that the historian present this or that, and that this happened next because of this and because of the conglomeration of all these various factors, etc. etc.”6 “history idea was reading these accounts before in blair and robertson (need to download those), and there were some stories there about the punishments given by the officials to those condemnded. this includes beheading and mounting the head on a pike, or atop a wall, as a warning to possible offenders. the idea then is to find out the various forms (whether they are gruesome or not depends on the data that will be gathered) of mutilation of the human body that is done, and of whether the treatment is different when the offender is a christian or not, whether the offender is a member of the group that was sent to the islands or not, etc. related topics, ideas and concepts include: torture, punishment, justice, early spanish period, the 'encuentro,'
6 These writings that are enclosed in quotation marks are earlier writings on the theme of 'finding a topic for my thesis.' The original title for this was 'History and the Act of Empathy' which was my attempt to write something long and academic about this particular topic. However, a few weeks passed and again, like many of the writing projects I set for my self, was forgotten and eventually abandoned – ruf
christian humanism? like: kindness and mercy in meting out punishment, and the christian justifications given by those who carried out or ordered the execution or non-execution of a decree. another possible angle to look at are the personalities of the different persons involved. given that there were only a relatively few spaniards in the newly discovered islands at that time, i think personalities would certainly play a great part in the whole endeavour, that is why, there are letters describing the character of this particular friar or conquistador, sailor, etc. (side note: what were the duties that are present in the enterprise of a voyage? navigator, map-maker, [study of maps in themselves is also an interesting topic. importance of place. the spaniards' idea of 'place' at that time. discussions on the letters regarding new places. the concept of new. what is new to them, that is, because these are not new to the native inhabitants of the place.]; there were the soldiers i guess, the cooks, the notaries, the accountants, treasurers, the rowers, [what types of ships did the spaniards use? what are the capacities of these ships, how many people can they hold, methods of travelling - whether they travelled by day or night, whether they cast anchor by the side of islands and spent the night there, or whether they just floated in the middle of the sea];) possible sources: a pagan face of god, blair and robertson (though this is subject to historiographic criticism of course) motivation for this topic. in all honesty, it was while searching for a list of dead porn stars in the internet that i had the idea. tragic deaths, mostly drug-related and self-inflicted. at this time also, i was reading the second book of a song of ice and fire: a clash of kings, and this book has a lot of deaths, violent ones, picture heads mounted on the entrance of castle walls, lots of fightings and stab wounds through knives and swords and other medieval period weapons. a song of ice and fire really is making me interested to look more at the nobility, of kings and their endeavours, and other related things. german expressionism is also a factor i think, that gave me the though to focus on this particular topic of punishment. this was a cinematic movement in the 20s and 30s, initially in Germany, following the Great War, which showed a lot of gloomy setting and architecture, with interesting characters usually with something grotesque in them, whether it be a character trait or a physical manifestation - how they move or look. just the general gloom of it all. macabre, morose.”7
7 Please refer to the first sentence of the previous footnote.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.