865 - History is a living organism

N. Lygeros
Translated from French by N. Thouvignon

The generally accepted concept concerning history is its stability, indeed, its inertia. In the sense that it is considered as an object independent of any human intervention, history seems unchangeable by nature. Nevertheless the new historical approaches as well as the archeological findings question these somewhat simplistic ideas.

Even if history is theorized it must be completed with the notion of observation. Above all history is a memory, whether it be effective or latent. Men make choices they can modify according to the goals they are trying to reach. History is often used as an a posteriori justification. In addition it is interpretable in many ways. In short it is neither objective nor subjective in the restricted sense of the word. It looks like a living organism which evolves sometimes uncontrollably through the system of revolutions and discoveries.

Thanks to the deciphering of Mycenaean by Ventris and Chadwick our knowledge of the world and the civilisation associated with it is considerably greater than Evans’ who discovered the Linear B tablets but also than Sophocles’, Euripides’ and Aeschylus’.

Our vision of the Biblical world sensibly changed with the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls because we had access to direct information which was not yet scholastically interpreted. And this gives information which reveals the defects of some other.

In addition the advent of new events allows us to interpret but also to understand in perspective ancient events which we unconsciously considered as historical entities. This resemblance gives us access to the differences that seem uselessly ridiculous. For all these reasons and some others we haven’t mentioned in this note we think history has to be considered as a living organism whose appearance also depends on the environment in which it is immersed. Without being a chameleon by nature, it becomes one by projection.