Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blog #34 - What is history?

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the
past" - George Orwell

On Tuesday, I asked you to fill in the blank - "History is ___________" and we saw lots of different responses. We heard lots of different responses from "stupid" and "irrelevant" to "just sort of there" to "something that can be misused." I talked about my own personal feelings towards history: that it is something that doesn't necessarily repeat itself - which is why some teachers say you should teach it. I feel that history is our civilization's collective knowledge about itself and other past societies on earth, and that it is one generation's job (mine, for instance) to interpret it and pass it down to the next (yours, in this case). Soon, it will be your job to continue that legacy with the next generation. But, is there an end point at which we stop passing this history down?

George Hegel had thought so. For him, the French Revolution and Napoleon's invasion of the German states in the early 1800s was that end point. Hegel felt this point was the end of history b/c the Revolution and Napoleon were upsetting the old order of aristocrat and peasant in an effort to try and forge a more "universal and homogeneous state in which lords no longer looked down contemptuously on bondsmen" and people would recognize each other for their individual self-worth (Palmer 235-6). For about 15-20 years, this era of equality lasted, and would not emerge again in a widespread fashion across Europe until after the Cold War was over. When the Cold War was over, another historian, Francis Fukayama called that time period "the end of history" as well, b/c in the battle of worldviews, democratic capitalism had defeated communism and had proven to be the best of all systems. Therefore, the search for the system of government / economy that benefits most people w/o killing or exploiting the least was determined; hence, the end of history.

As for what path history follows, Hegel believed that God determined history's outcome - it is an unchangable, set-in-stone fact.

"Spirit does not toss itself about in the external play of chance occurrences; on the contrary, it is that which determines history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which it dominates and exploits for its own purpose" - George Hegel 2

We can trace this back to our examination of the differences in how Indo-Europeans and Semitic cultures have viewed history throughout the ages. Hegel's view seems to fit into the Semitic scheme that history is linear w/ a beginning and end, and it stands to reason that if God can interfere with or manifest himself in our history, then it makes sense that God has fixed history for all eternity.

My personal issue with this determinist view of history is that with six billion + people on the planet, I think it also stands to reason that occasionally, history is influenced and has been changed by chance events, random, wacky things that no one had planned for or anticipated. Two perfect examples that I use come from the American Civil War: 1. Union soldiers finding General Lee's orders which show how his army is separated into 5 very vulnerable parts, easy for the Union army to pick apart and destroy (only if they had the right commander, which the Union didn't). 2. The chance encounter of Stonewall Jackson's men with his own soldiers the night of the battle of Chancellorsville - the men of a North Carolina regiment on picket duty shot Stonewall and his officers fearing that they were Yankee cavalry on a nighttime raid. Stonewall survived the gunshots, but died a week later of pneumonia.

Neither of those examples were destined to happen, but they did occur by chance, and it is safe to say that they had a cumulative effect on the war's outcome. Random events determine life or death situations all the time. Just ask some of the survivors of the Twin Towers collapse from Sept. 11, 2001. Little random things made them miss being in the building at the time when the planes hit.

However, determinist skeptics would say that these weren't random events and that God has had a hand in all of these things. At that point, I'd ask for proof other than faith.

Your questions:

1. Fill in the blank, "History is _________________" and explain why you answered it that way.

2. Can history have an end point? If so, what would that be and why? If not, why not?

3. Do you agree with Hegel's assertion that history is determined by God or another higher power? Why or why not?

250 Words. Due Friday (Feb. 12, 2010) at the latest.


1. Palmer, Donald. Looking at Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter, 4th ed. McGraw Hill Higher Education. New York, NY: 2006.

2. Burrell, David. "A Historian Looks at Hegel Philosophically." http://www.historicalinsights.com/dave/hegel.html Original 1991. Accessed 2/10/10.


  1. “History is important”. I believe that history is important because it is what many people compare things to today. Without history we wouldn’t know what would happen if we did something because we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. History teaches us almost everything we know today and without it we may not be as advanced as we are today. But not all history is recorded a lot of it is left out and not recorded so we don’t know everything that has occurred throughout time.
    Yes, I believe that history can have an end point. I believe that the only way history could have an end point is if the world ended and if all of mankind was killed. Without mankind being alive there would be no one to write or make history so I think that history can have and end point. If the human race is killed then I do believe that history will continue on because there would still be people creating it and recording it for future generations to read and learn about.
    I don’t fully agree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by God or another higher power but in a sense it is because God or a higher power were the ones who created mankind who later created history. Without God or a higher power creating mankind then there wouldn’t be any history made or recorded. God created mankind but I don’t think God or a higher power is creating history it’s the things and people that they created who are making the history and they are just observing it.

    Stefanos Thomopoulos 5th Hour

  2. History is a tool misused for the benefits of selfish parties. Past events can be manipulated and twisted into information that can be used to support or deny a persons political agenda. History has been gathered and preserved for thousands of years and people can choose from this wide collection of information to remember the court cases, historical events or tragedies that help there cause. By only picking out the events that support a certain cause and not acknowledging the events that refute the position history is merely being manipulated into a tool to aid in arguments. In the same way that people can choose to deem parts of history unimportant because of their context historians can write them out all together. This exclusion of these painful events that show a negative portrayal of a country or person often lead to a misinterpretation of the truth, which is dangerous. History should never and can never have an end, because then people are forgetting where they came from and what they have become because of it. Having a compiling of information of our triumphs and failures helps us to make more wise decisions in the future and appreciate the advancements we have made. I believe with Hegel’s theory that god controls history because I also believe in fate. I have found in my life that everything happens for a reason and I believe that this is true for history as well as all people. Decisions and events are not random but are all intertwined by one all-powerful God.

  3. Richard Widdett
    4th Hour

    1) History is the reason for our present. If it wasn’t for what has happened in the past, the world wouldn’t be the way it is right now. History has determined the way we live now and the way we live now will determine the way people will live in the future.
    2) I do not believe that history can have an endpoint. My argument to back up this statement is the end of the world theory. Personally I do not believe that the world will end very soon and based on my knowledge of the universe, if the world were to end, it would not be for a while. Even if the world were to end, something must still be happening after the world has ended; the lights just don’t go out. History is just a recount of something that has occurred in the past and in the future, after the world supposedly will have ended, something will still be going on in the universe.
    3) I do not agree with Hegel mainly because I do not necessarily believe in a God or a higher power. History makes its own course and is random. One event can trigger another event, which leads to an even bigger event that eventually lands in the history books. Chance occurrences are what history is all about. History is not determined by a God or a higher power because nature has an uncontrollable way of determining itself. Nothing or no one can determine what the world will bring us and what will happen in the future.

  4. Eric Singer
    History will end only when there is no one around left to remember. Historical understanding is a result of enough people remembering events that happened, how they made them feel, what the event’s meant to them. It is a collection of first person accounts, assembled into a secondary retelling of the history, and then further analyzed by historians. As long as there are historians – anyone for that matter – who remembers the past, will preserve history. When no one can remember the past, history becomes irrelevant, and it is lost.
    History works like the negative numbers on a time line, it works backwards. As there are infinite negative numbers on a time line, there is an infinity to which we can apply to history. We may not have the ability or the technological understanding to examine very ancient history, but things happened before we existed, before we could report the events – and regardless if they’re examined, they should be considered history. The future holds history; it is not yet history until the present has passed it, but will be afterward. When the apocalypse happens (hopefully not in 2012), and there are no humans or living things on the planet, history will be erased. Not because the events never occurred, but because there is no one left to account for those events – the past is the past, as the present is the present, but if there are no people, then the past, present, and future become considerably more meaningless.
    It is said that history is told by the victors, if the victor is Mother Nature – perhaps instead of a rewrite, she’ll just erase it. Only time will tell…

  5. 1) “History is past mistakes that need to be learned for the future.” Since I was little my mom has told me history are lessons you don’t need to learn the hard way, and I take that into account every day. By knowing your history, you won’t make the same mistakes another person has made.
    2) No way, history cannot have an end point, because it doesn’t have a starting point. Without a starting point it’s impossible to have an end point. There has always been history, we don’t know when it started because we’ve recorded only so little of it. There will be no end to it because even if everyone on the planet dies, there will still be more history being made. Once humans are gone, it’s the beginning of a new dominate life form, or new history with what the human civilizations have left for the other organisms to create new history.
    3) Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by God or another higher power sounds like the truth of history. Since history is interpreted differently by different people, the true history of what had happened and its impacts would be determined by God or another higher power. For example in the Vietnam war, people to this day argue whether is was right or wrong to invade Vietnam. Some people interpret the massive amount of bombing necessary to kill the oppression, while others believe it was a massive extermination of innocent people. Hegel’s point it that God is the one to interpret this history.

    Mostafa Bendali-Amor 5th

  6. 1. History is unstoppable. There are a lot of things I could have said to fill in this blank, and this may be one of the most obvious answers. What I think is interesting is that everything with time becomes part of history. What has happened yesterday can be regarded, several years from now, as having been a crucial day for the “advancement of society”. No one can stop history from happening, since in doing so, they will only mark it.
    2. Yes, history does have an endpoint and that time will come with the end of mankind. If no one is here to make and consider history than it can no longer survive. In a way, it lives through our memory and books, if no one remembers it than it will repeat itself. I believe that people learn through the mistakes of people in the past, which is why remembering is so important. By forgetting history can also come to an end. If people stop caring about life in general and become oblivious to everything, then history will cease to exist.
    3. Honestly, I don’t really know if history is determined by a higher power. If fate exists then the answer is yes, but I don’t know the answer to that either. I would like to say that people create history; it would certainly be a more comforting idea than the idea that no matter what you do, your fate is already determined. If I had to choose one option than we make history happen, not God.
    Laetitia Crosnier
    4th hour

  7. 1. History is our future. The reason why that in is order to what is going to happen to us in the future we need to look at the past. We know that the Middle East had a history of having weapons of mass destruction it was no surprise that they would use them on 9/11. By knowing history we were able to prevent numerous terrorist attacks because of past history. I think knowing the past will be able to make more advances from medicine to technology so we must look to past history to life better us on earth. That is why I think history is our future.

    2. No, I do not think history has an end point because as long as we are living and the earth is still turning history is already happening as I’m writing this blog because people are doing all across the world. I think history is happening all around us and we just don’t know it until we hear it from the news. That is why I think history as no endpoint.

    3. I do agree with Hegel that history is determined by God because all of what has happened in the world since the earth was created was God doing all of what we see and hear. I think everything like natural disasters and wars are all apart of God’s will. That is why I agree with Hegel.

  8. 1. I believe that history is constantly changing and viewed in different ways. I believe that it is constantly changing because as time continues and historical events get older, the only evidence that we have left are the written down documents. These documents are interpreted differently by each generation and culture. I believe that history is viewed differently because every country and culture views the same historical even in a different way. For instance, the south and north have different view points about the civil war. Also the same historical events are thought of differently according to how they are viewed in that culture.
    2. No I do not think that history can have an end point because as long as our civilization is alive history will continue. Even though a historical period may end, history will always continue and change as time goes on. Even if the human race isn’t there anymore history will continue and evolve.
    3. No I do not agree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by God or another higher power because it is us humans who make the history. All the decisions we make affect our future generations. We are the ones that agree to start or end a war. It is not God or a higher power that tell us what to do. I do however, believe that God or a higher power may guide us to make the right decisions however in the end it is us humans who make the final decisions about our lives and future.

    Irina Laczkovich 4th hour

  9. Sam Grusin 5th hour.

    1). “History is whatever we want it to be.” While it is true that there are real actions and true events in time, we, as the students of history, cannot be sure whether it really happened the way the records state or, to be more dramatic, we cannot be sure that anything really happened at all. Take for example the battle of the Spartans against the Persian horde. The evidence that we have obtained (weapons, written texts ect.) could have possibly been planted by the Spartan state to further the glory of its soldiers. Any phrase, uttered repeatedly into the depths, well inevitably become truth. After the final member of a real event dies, any “real” evidence of a past event becomes subjective. In this we have been given a great power and, to use the cliché, a great responsibility. Unless we are willing to let ourselves become twisted by the will of anyone with power, we must faithfully records history as it happens for the sake of the future generations to come.

    2). History will have a practical end when there is nobody around to record it. Scientists predict that, due the exponential expansion of the universe, the universe will eventually become so cold that it will eventually reach the point of absolute zero, the point at which the molecules which make us matter stop moving all together. At this point, the universe will continue to expand and physically rip all matter in the universe into subatomic parts and eventually into nothingness. So yes, at this point history as we know it will end as time and space have ended.

    3). I don’t think that god is in control of history, humans are. God or whatever higher power might control events and actions but the history, as evidence above, will be controlled by humans. We have the power to lie or to record, to twist with propaganda or to faithfully report. God controls the physical while humans control the intellectual.

  10. 1. History is science. Without any science, there would be no history. I think that the begining of history was when the earth was formed. I'm not talking about the story of 'Creation' in the bible, I am refering to things such as the big bang theory. From there, history includes things such as evolution, nuclear bombs, earthquakes, chemical unbalances in people's brains who have a lot of power (Hitlet), and so on. Some kind of science lies behind every event in history.

    2. As of right now, there is no end in history. I think that absolutley every little thing that each person does on our earth is a part of history. Even things beyond our earth are a part of history. History will never end. I think that a lot of people would considder that 2012 & the whole end of the world thing to be the end of history. But that is only the end of the world, not the end of the entire universe. History will still exist outside of the earth.

    3. I don't think that history is determined by god or another higher power. I really hope it’s not because if it is, then God has done some pretty evil things with history and because of that, he would not be as great as people think he is. I really think that history is purely based off of science, and that people create history. I don’t buy that something good comes out of everything god does. So far, I have seen nothing good come out of the earthquake in Haiti, or the Holocaust.

    4th hour.

  11. Veronica Washington
    5th hour

    History is legendary. I answer it this way because something or someone that is legendary is remembered forever and has a huge influence on the future;because if it was not for something that happened before the now wouldn't be what it is to be..

    History has an ending point when the World ends or when there is nothing left to make anything out of,But how will we know that everything is gone and done?
    just because the world is gone doesn't mean everything is gone there is still space and stars and planets.so maybe history doesn't have an ending point.So i don't have a complete answer for that one.just an idea.

    I do agree with Hegel's assertion that history is determined by God because for example in my religion Christianity we believe that with God anything is possible, so if he trusted me with a certain future he will help me take the steps to get there so he will be influencing my history before i got to my future. Another belief is that "God knows all" It's not like he wrote out scrpit for life as we know it but people who believe in God have callings and he knows them and if you trust God and God trusts you he will help you make those steps to what he sent you down on earth to do.

  12. 1. History is whatever we make of it, but ultimately just a series of dates and facts. I agree that it defines our present, but only the relatively recent present and future. Sooner or later records will be lost, destroyed, or simply ignored and forgotten, and things may or may not return to how they used to be, but the events will be nevertheless independent. One can argue that we progress from the future, but in the end it is all relative; the automobile, like we discussed in class, is not necessarily a progress, even if we make cars that don’t pollute in the future the damage to our atmosphere has already been incurred and may not be repairable. The term “victory” or “tragedy” used in historic records already has a bias and therefore can it ever be trusted or progressed from?
    2. I think that a world or universal end is not possible, there must be something happening somewhere in time and space or in another dimension. I think the only reason we can envision an end to the world or to history is because we are not thinking with a Spinoza-like eternal view of things. It is not possible to not think as humans, but we can try in that history will continue on without us and that what we do on Earth has little effect on the course of history.
    3. I agree with Hegel in that history is determined by a higher power but only to the extent that history is therefore permanent. How history becomes history, however, is determined by us. We can change our interpretation of history (i.e. Propaganda) in a million different ways, but facts are facts and they are unchangeable with human interference.
    Claire Holton 5th hour

  13. Blog 34

    1. History is manipulated in so many ways. I feel it has been rewritten over and over many times so people who didn’t do anything seem like heroes and the people who did all the work don’t get any of the credit. It’s been shown in movies I believe it has even been written in American history. History is told by many different people with many different perspectives on the same issue. I’m sure the Germans didn’t write bad things about the holocaust as the rest of the world sees it as a horrible genocide.

    2. I don’t personally feel that history will have an end point because stuff will always be happening and that goes into our history. For example people who argue a lot with each other will create a history of arguing. When they grow up and are still “friends” will recall their history of arguing in the past and try to change it so their history 20 years from then (hypothetically speaking of life long friends) they would want to have a history of friendship without arguments. I believe that history has no end point because just because peoples’ lives may end when they pass away there history will always live on in their family, children, and friends. Look at the battle of religious influence throughout the world the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church has a history it is still there and I believe there is more history to be made.

    3. I do agree with Hegel's assertion that history is determined by God or another higher power because I feel everything happens for a reason there is always some kind of life lesson to be learning from every experience that happens to us as individuals. Out of everything bad that happens there is something good that comes out of it, a couple exceptions are 9/11, abortion victims and natural disasters like hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti (may all those victims R.I.P) Growing up in a strict catholic family I now believe that God influences everything, everything that happens is his will, everything happens for a reason.

  14. 1.) I believe that history is very important because many things started out a certain way and although those things are considered history now, they are still extremely important. It is necessary to see where something began in order to see where it is possibly going. It may not go that route exactly, but studying history can cater to a good guess of where something is going to go. History is a great tool that can be used for a person to learn from their mistakes also. It is very important to not always follow history because then the present could start to repeat. For this reason I think that it is always important to stay creative and innovative in order to move forward instead of in circles.
    2.) I do not believe that history can have an end point because even if it ends for all of humanity, I still believe that we would become history for another planet or species. History is still history whether we are alive or dead. The actual word probably would not exist but there is absolutely no way for the idea to be lost. Every second of our lives becomes history eventually so it is important to make quick and wise choices.
    3.) I do believe that our lives are somewhat controlled by somewhat of a god. Therefore history is controlled. I believe that history is already planned out and that somewhere, something is watching us and has already planned our death date and what we are going to eat tomorrow. I believe that god has been planning what I am about to eat for a couple of years now. Everything is planned out in my opinion so my number one priority is to stay happy.

    - Ian Perfitt
    Honors Philosophy 4th hour

  15. 1) History is dependent on those who write it; History is manipulated. Those who live long enough to record history are those who survive, for example, long enough in a war. Say a dominating force destroys another whole culture within the time-span of about a month. With no time to document their entire works, how will the possibly great accomplishments of a destroyed people be known? These accomplishments will go on forgotten, and only the achievements of the dominating force that currently write our textbooks will be noted. History will always be manipulated so that it favors the winner.
    2) Literately speaking, history ends every time the second hand on a clock ticks. History is constantly ending, yet it is constantly being added to. It is absurd to assume that one will know when, if ever, history would end. Those who say 2012 exist are stupid, and there is no apocalypse. History will end when the world ends. This question cannot be logically answered further.
    3) Hegel is wrong. You can’t just state something with god as your evidence like that. Why would god be needed to determine what happens. If god controlled me, how could I refute his existence? Now that I have proved that god does not control me, or what I do, why would god control anyone? I am no different from anyone else, maybe just a little more open-minded. Because god controls no one, and that people dictate what happens, how can, anyone ever be so audacious to say that god determines history?
    Its absurd..

    Jake Timmis

  16. 1. "History is a never ending cycle". I feel that history in a way is redundant because it seems as if history repeats itself with both horrible and good things. For example, the war within Iraq that is taking place right now isn't the first war to occur and unfortunately won't be the last. History is never ending because what happened in past centuries seems to pop up in the present day, I doubt that that's a coincidence.
    2. Yes history can have an endpoint but of course that would only occur once the world came to an end. Once there is nothing left on this planet including animals, plants, places, humans and more that's when history will come to an end.
    3. In a way I agree with Hegel that God does play a role in history like the many victories or the numerous hero's that has saved people lives, but I feel humans too have a part in determining history. God may set the foundation but humans build the house. For example, when genocide occurs or mass murders like 9/11 I'm sure it's due to humans wanting to make history not God.

    Bianca Kea

  17. 1. History is…well, history. Now I know it might seem like I’m putting forth zero effort with a response like that, but just hear me out. History is everything that happened before now. It’s the past, it’s already happened, and it’s finished. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be history, it would be the present. What happened, happened, and nothing anyone does can change that. Therefore, “history is history”, because it’s old news, and it’s now over and done with. Now you might be saying, “What if the people in power at the time that the now historical events occurred had enough influence to alter the textbooks, wouldn’t they be ‘altering’ history?” My answer is no, they wouldn’t be altering history, because it already happened, and unless I am sadly misinformed, we haven’t really figured out the whole time traveling thing yet. All they would be doing is altering the record of history and people’s perception and knowledge of past events, but not the actual history itself.
    2. Of course history has an end point. History ends right now. The present is history’s endpoint. It’s just like the way that midnight doesn’t last for any time at all, because as soon as one day ends, the next begins, and “midnight” is just the word we use to mark when that transition occurs. The concept of the “present” is our way of defining the point in time where the future turns into history. So really, history’s end is the same as the future’s beginning.
    3. No, I don’t believe that history is determined by some higher power. In part, this is because I remain unconvinced that there is some higher power. But on top of that, history isn’t “determined,” it just happens, or rather, it happened. As I said in my answer above, history is just what the future turns into when the present passes it. So history is determined only by what is happening right now, in the present.

    Drew Fisher

  18. 1. History is important to remember so we do not make the mistake of repeating it in the future. Things and events that occurred in the past were obviously important and life changing to the individuals who experienced it, as well as to those who were affected by its outcomes. It is important to learn from the mistakes we have made in the past in order to live a better and happier future. The same thing goes for huge events as every day proceedings; we are supposed to learn from our mistakes. If we are not taught about the history of our country and other countries, we are bound to stupidly repeat history, making the same errors we made years ago. In order to prevent bad things from recurring as well as know how to stop them in their tracks if they appear in the future, we must learn what has happened in order to be prepared.

    2. I’d definitely have to say that history has an endpoint: the present. Right now is not history. Although in a few minutes it will become my past/history, just like everything else in this life will soon become, the present and the future is where history has its endpoint. Although I think that everything that occurs eventually becomes history, history ends where the future begins. You can change what you do in the present and change decisions you are going to make in the future, but you cannot change the past. Therefore, history definitely has an endpoint.

    3. I do not agree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by G-d or another higher power. I personally believe that is absolutely ridiculous because the events in our past are decisions made by the people who made them happen. But then again, if I had more faith in knowing that a higher power truly does exist, my answer would probably be swayed in the other direction. But as for where I stand right now, I’d find it very hard to believe that G-d or a higher power wanted the Holocaust to happen, and therefore called on Hitler to follow through with his plans. But with my current knowledge and beliefs, I find it difficult to believe that history is determined by a higher power, and that it is only determined by the mind of a powerful individual.

    Amanda Schmerin
    4th hour

  19. Noah Saperstein
    History is what we are taught happened, however there is a fine line between history and what actually happened. History is written by the victors, often conquerors and hate-filled people. History has been used to oppress a group of people and to inspire others, typically the victor warps what happened. This has been seen dozens of times throughout the past, the Turks denying the Armenian Genocide, western civilization denying the intelligence of Africans, whenever a strong nation or group of people take over another group of people they make themselves seem almost godlike while the conquered nation is often perceived as weak and simplistic. When Mussolini first tried to conquer Ethiopia he failed horribly, then went in with planes and poison gas succeeded. He called the Ethiopians weak and uninvolved, but if I gave anyone a musket while I had poison gas and a plane I can guarantee a victory. It would have nothing to do with intelligence or the strength of the individual, it all boils down to technology. The Mayans were one of the most intelligent civilizations, they have ingenious forms of agriculture, original ideas of both math and science and yet when the conquistadors slaughtered them they regarded them as dumb savages. History is.. a lie, every little of what is frequently taught as history is a complete lie. Columbus was no great man, he slaughtered hundreds, brought European disease to the New World and killed his own men for not mining enough gold. If history has taught us anything it is that you cannot trust the people in power. Don’t blindly follow your leader, think.

  20. History is a series of events decide by the winners “truth”. I think this correct because no one ever knows the truth of the losing side in the event, we only know the version that the winning side has depicted for us, because no one would ever listen to the losing side of the event. I think history can definitely have an end point, the only way history would end if people forget and stop writing or telling stories of past events. I think history would end with the obliteration of the human race, because even though we may be dead and events keeping happening, if there is no one there to record said events, then no one knows what really happened. So without recording events, there cant be a history. For example if I crashed my car ion a building 10 years ago and no one would ever know what happened the history of that event would be lost. Everyone would know that there is just a hole in the wall and that’s that. I think this would be the way that history would end. With Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by god, I think that it is in some ways. I believe God gives us the tools and sets up the situation for events to occur but it all depends on us to determine if the event occurs, giving us a sense of freewill. I believe that it’s a fifty/ fifty situation. We choose what happens; God or the Higher power just gives us the variable for some end result.
    Raphael Egzaibher 5th

  21. History is essential. I am a strong component of the belief that history repeats itself, not in a literal sense but the major themes do repeat themselves. Looking at some of the similarities between the United States today and countries from the past, Ancient Rome and Spain, these countries began lending away their future and allowing their economic systems to fail until they were but a shell of their former selves. It is essential that we remember the problems of the past in order to prevent suffering and death in the future. History can have an end point because history, in my opinion, is a human creation. We have created recordings of our culture and lives and in doing so created history. The end point of history therefore would be when we cease to exist. Interestingly cultures whose language do not have a past tense can not as readily recall the past thus this affects their history in that they cannot recall it. I do not think that history is determined by God or another higher power. I think we have free will and thus determine our own fate. While I do believe in God I think that any omnipotent being would allow us to make our own choices and branch out on our own. I agree that history is influenced and has been changed by chance events that no one could have foreseen. I think life is too complex for any plan to survive implementation and thus we determine life on our own.

  22. History is not as important as many make it out to be. While i do agree that history has helped us learn from our mistakes, i don't think it needs to be taught as much as it is. I don't think learing about every single battle that happened in the past has any relevance to what is going on now. Why should we need to learn all the facts about somehting that happend years ago. Also, we dont even know if all of the things we hear in class are true or not, we are just expected to beleive what we hear because our teacher told us to, but really, none of us were there so we cant really know for sure.
    I do not beleive history can have an endpoint. I beleive the history of certain things can have an endpoint, but there will always be something that can have history. For example, if our world (the earth) ended, then the history of the earth would be done with, but there are other plantes out there that will still be making history.
    I do not agree that history is determined by God because really, history is just events that have happened in the past so if we said history is determined by god, then we would be saying god determines all events that happen in the world, and i dont believe in a higher power, so natuarally, I dont agree with this idea.
    Sara Dziubek
    4th hour

  23. 1. History is a component of life that defines an individual and their life. When we as a group talk about history, we may talk about the history of nations or countries, yet many don’t realize that our own history is ingrained into the history of the history. It is almost similar to a math equation. For example, my history + your history + history of others = a collective history of nations or countries, with a condition phrase “if we each understand each other’s history”. That is the reason for the response to the phrase “History is ___”.
    2. History, as we know it, does not have an end point. The reason for this is because, history explains where we all came from, and that history can date back to ancient times where we have little or no evidence, so we cannot be definite with the knowledge, but we gain some sense of time and occurrences. We are ignorant of the start of history, and will we know when it will end, so we cannot say if there is an end point.
    3. I do not agree with Hegel’s view that history is determined by God. Our past actions determine our history, and when we reflect on them, we can learn from past mistakes. It is not God that foretells our future and determines our past. We are able to walk on both legs to make our own decisions for ourselves without the assistance from a higher power, even if we do have to face the consequences.

    Timothy Weerakoon, 4th Hour

  24. 1. History is “just sort of there” is how I had put it when you had asked me what I thought of history in class on Tuesday. I said it was just sort of there because even though we can learn things from history, personally I believe we can never change history and history can’t change itself either so why bother learning a lot of history when it shouldn’t be able to change my opinions. Dates and names don’t have that big of an impact on my life.
    2. I believe that history has an end point for everyone when they die because for them personally there is no more history and it just ends. History from a viewpoint of mankind though, probably will not end until everyone dies. People might argue that history is still happening, but how can there be history if there is nobody there to learn it or record it? History ends as soon as the human race ends.
    3. I believe that history is not really determined by God, but that he does have an impact on it. He has first of all created the entire universe, and that he knows all of what will happen forever throughout history and the future, but that does not mean that it was determined by him, because he did give people free will and he has not interfered with it very often, or at least not that I know of since biblical times.

  25. 1. History is never certain. I say this because no one could actually know the complete truth of what happened unless they were there. Though witnesses do stand as good proof for certainty of an event, mankind can often be biased and only perceive things how they think they happened. When the civil war is taught in the north, the south is usually seen as the bad side. But, when the civil war is taught in the south they feel that their side was justified for what they did and the north was bad. We can never say who was right and wrong because none of us in this lifetime were ever there to prove what really happened.
    2. I do not believe that history can have an end point. In our history classes when we learn about certain events the people in those events probably weren’t thinking about being written about in text books later, but they have been. We don’t realize but everyday we are making history and people in the future will be learning about events in our life that we never even realized were so significant.
    3. I do not agree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by God or a higher power. I think that history is full of random things that were never expected or planned. I also think that history is a lot of times run by man’s ambitions and personal interests in life that no God or higher power has control over.

  26. History is the gathered remnants of the past and present. One could theorize that the future is also part of history but how could anyone log what is yet to come accurately? So we are unable to write down the future part of history. However, if the existence of everything is what we call history, then it could be said that history is endless. What is it all ends? Well, in the beginning there was nothing according to religion. As I pretty much just said, history is perpetual. I agree with Hegel’s concept that history is determined by beings with conscious, however I do not believe god has anything to do with this. Rather, history was just floating on its way down the river of time when man decided to interfere with his perception. Not just one person, but all of them. With hundreds of thousands and now billions of perceptions influencing history, common links are found and integrated into history’s design. For no longer is history solely what new species arises and how existing ones compete for food, but what brand of shoes are in, who is running in the next presidential election and the current generation’s code of morals.
    Or we could wipe the slate clean and say each individual possesses their own history and through our social interactions and even when we vote on trivial things like ‘cutest couple’ each of our individual histories becomes entwined in a manner of thought. Therefore each action has a possible reaction and depending on what the selected reaction is determines the amount of influence it has future and therefore history. In other words; no action goes unnoticed. Until next time! ~ SocratesUnderling

  27. 1. History is in favor of who is writing it. History is manipulated based on which person came out on top of the event. Certain events, if we did not win, may go on unrecorded and future generations would never know it happened. With Holocaust survivors dying, who’s to say that the people who still refute the fact that the holocaust existed will over power those who believe? With history in control of certain people, we may never know the whole story or the story at all.
    2. History cannot have an end point; it is an ongoing thing. I think that absolutely every little thing that each person does on our earth is a part of history. Even things beyond our earth are a part of history. The theory of the world ending in 2012 or what not will not also result in the end of history because there will still be events outside of Earth. We have the misconception that if we do not know about certain events, they are not a crucial part of history. History will continue forever.
    3. I think that Hegel’s assertion is just an excuse for people who make obviously wrong decisions. It is common for some terrorists to claim that they were acting out god’s wishes but I do not believe that any higher power has control over anyone’s actions. I think it is ridiculous to blame actions on god. We are in control of our decisions and our history, bottom line.

  28. To me, History is something that can never be changed. It has been said that history is “told by the victors,” but that does not make the events that occurred any different. History might be falsified and only important parts are explained, but to truly understand a piece of history, a person has to look at both sides of the conflict and find the true facts hidden underneath the propaganda. If history has a beginning, then that means that it also has to have an end. The history of Earth will be destroyed when Earth itself is destroyed in millions of years from now, or in two years depending on what someone believes in. History for the universe though, is unsure because no one knows what the universe is and when it was created or if it was created. Our world is nothing like how it was explained in George Orwell’s 1984 because today, history is cherished and not made up of falsified information and of people that never existed in the first place. If someone dies or is killed, they are not taken out of documents the public viewing, it seems that their death turns them into a bigger superstar than when they were living. I disagree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by g-d because humans are the ones making the events happen and keeping track of it. If g-d was the one determining our history, we wouldn’t have any history because he/she/it is not apparent in everyday life. Our actions and our emotions create history by controlling the present and future, which ultimately controls our past, or our history.

    Lisa S. -5th

  29. 1. In my opinion, history is misinterpreted. I think that in many ways history has been retold and retold in a way that is beneficial to whoever is telling it. I think that every time history is retold the story changes in some way. In my opinion, there is no way to know exactly what did happen during any event in history, and the only way to know the true history is to experience it. I’m with mr wickersham when he said that history doesn’t really repeat itself, therefore I am sort of of the opinion that the past isn’t what matters, and just the present.
    2. I don’t think that history can have an end. For history to end the entire world would have to end, and I don’t think that that’s possible. Even if the whole entre world as we know it ended, I still think that there would be something left to experience our world ending. And I don’t think that that is going to happen. I think that even if there is no one to tell it, history still exists. If no one ever talked about the holocaust, it would still have happened.
    3. I think that if there is some sort of god, they have no control over history. I feel that every person has free will therefore history cannot be completely controlled. Maybe history can be tampered with, like of you play the lottery, god could make you win or lose, but I don’t think that god could make you play the lottery.

    thanks man
    Megan W

  30. 1. History is repetitive. History is re-occurring. The same things that happen hundreds of years ago still occur today. This world is still considered to be a “man’s world”, the female species is still somewhat considered to be inferior to the male species, racism still occurs whether it’s race, gender, or age. Older generations talk about the latest generation, but did they ever take into consideration where we got are example from? History repeats itself.

    2. How can history have a endpoint, when we don’t know where it stemmed from? We will continue to ask questions and inquire but never find an endpoint because we don’t have a beginning; once again history is revolves it never stops. It may change but it never stops.

    3. I do agree with Hegel when he says “history is determined by God or a higher power.” One day I was suppose to have get my hair done, but my cousin was running for city council and my mother was helping her campaign, my mother assured me she would be back in time to take me to my hair appointment; the time rolled around and she still hadn’t showed, I was beyond furious. My cousin asked me what was wrong and I explained to him… he looked at me and said “Lyssa everything happens for a reason, you didn’t get your hair done today, because God didn’t want you to, he has a plan for everyone, and today he didn’t have plans for you to get your hair done…” I had never thought of it like that, a few days later I was informed that a woman fell asleep at the wheel and ran straight into the hair salon I was suppose to get my hair done at. After that day if something didn’t go as planned, I may have been mad but I never questioned it, assuring myself it wasn’t in God plans for me. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason” and “God has a plan for everyone, for that exact reason. When God created this world, he had to have some kind of plan to shape the world and make it a better place. By making a plan for everyone this help God’s vision.

    Alyssa T.

  31. Tyler Friedman
    5th Hour

    1. History is subjective. To the North, the Civil War was completely justified as the South had no right to Secede from the Union; To the South, the Civil War was an unjust war as they had every right to Secede from the Union. As you can see, this is one historical event, from two completely different perspectives. The issue with History is that we can only interpret it through what was written down during that time. For example, we can’t know for sure that Jesus existed because we’ve ever actually seen him. In fact, we only know of him because it was written in the bible that he existed. This means that everything we know about history has been filtered through the lens of a person with personal beliefs and motives. Ultimately, this means that everything in history is subjective.

    2. As I said previously, history only exists when there are people who keep records of it. It follows logically that when there are no more people to keep these records, history will cease to exist (and thus have an endpoint). For this situation to occur there would probably have to be an end-of-the-world scenario that precedes it, one that wipes out mankind. Fortunately for us, we have a wide variety of doomsday scenarios to choose from! Global Warming, 2012, The Rapture, Global Nuclear War, Solar Radiation, Water Scarcity; take your pick.

    3. I disagree with Hegel’s assertion. History is most certainly man-made, and may even be the only truly man-made thing in our world. I think the fact that history repeats itself proves I’m right, in that it shows that human nature has not changed since the dawn of man, meaning that our actions constantly parallel themselves even in different civilizations.

  32. History is a summation of all the events that have taken place up to the present. People often associate history with the more noteworthy occurrences, but history is not necessarily limited to that. Keeping that in mind, history is really just a more glorified, and often subjective, version of the past. Our lives have been permanently woven into history, and every action we make defines that history. I may be being overly literal, but everything we see as the present is really the past. When you take into account the time it takes for light to reflect back to our eyes, there is a measurable amount of time that allows for us to be considered to be seeing the past.
    History cannot have an endpoint because as I explained before, history is really just the past. So, in order for history to have an endpoint, the present must have an endpoint, which really just means for time to have an endpoint. Really this question is based upon whether you believe time has a beginning or end, which also begs the question of what is time? In my opinion, time is a measurement of the occurrences in space spanning infinitely into the past and infinitely into the future. To answer the question, no I do not believe that history has an endpoint because the beginning and end of the universe (that is only if the universe collapses upon itself) aren’t the endpoints of time, they are merely points in time.
    I do not agree with Hegel’s assertion that God, or a higher power determines history because that would go against my belief that man has free will, that is limited by God’s constraint’s. To say that God is constantly influencing history would contradict my belief that God has given man free will because it is not truly free will if we are all merely puppets on the strings of God, creating an illusion of free will when really the puppet-master behind the curtain is controlling everything.

    David Mohan 4th Hr.

  33. 1) History is essential, but its passing down and teaching does not necessarily ensure that humanity will change. At a glance, I feel that humanity learns from specific mistakes, but does grow much smarter as a result of them. We frown upon the separation of aristocracy and peasants, but are content with the void in modern social standing that lies between the hyper-rich upper class and the borderline poverty of the lower class, just because there’s a middle-ground now. We frown upon slavery, but are content with buying commodities produced by workers who work even more hours than American slaves did (sun up to sun down is unheard of in some Chinese factories, less than four hours of sleep is normal). Where justice is achieved in one place, it is lost in another. Once we solve the problem of environmental damage and global warming, we’ll probably say, “Wow, good thing we learned from that mistake” right before we find ourselves waist deep in another issue we caused for ourselves. Perhaps we focus too much on history, and not enough of predicting the results of our actions. Of course, the entire race will never be happy as a whole (unless we are all suddenly gripped by communism (Brave New World style)), but addressing single issues should not be how we approach problems; we must address the thinking that drew us into such dilemmas. This may be impossible, since it hasn’t been done in all of history. Our instincts for survival will always be present, so greed and self-indulgence will always be important to us. The more we gather, the better our chances of survival are, right? Perhaps we’ve missed our chance at achieving a utopia.

  34. Sorry I contradict myself many times...

    1) History is…… Subjective/ Biased? What I mean to say is: History will always be expressed differently depending on whose point of view it is. It seems like an obvious statement, but it’s important because history is supposed to be the one thing that isn’t subjective, but that is purely factual and without biased opinions. But, honestly, it’s clear that our history books would be completely altered if they weren’t from America’s point of view. This is because we can only rely on history based on things people have recorded, which also are not necessarily true! History isn’t set in stone, but neither is anything else. The only things that can be completely correct about history are dates, statistics, numbers, but even then sometimes those are not recorded correctly (but that’s a whole other story). I guess, in turn, history is different based on everyone’s opinions, as is everything else in the world. I guess what I mean to say is that history should not be taken too seriously, or reflected upon too much- instead we should focus on the present!
    2) History doesn’t have an end point… History is everything up until now. That last sentence was history. ‘History’ is not just the important, it is everything in the past. History is never-ending.
    3) I don’t think history is determined by a higher power. I think history can be altered due to chance occurrences. Well, technically history cannot be altered, but a chance occurrence can alter the present, which will in turn become history! It is all very cyclical. But this is the same question as to whether God determines anything, not just history- fate vs. free will. Along with everything else, I do not think there is a set plan for history, but that anything can happen and end up changing everything.

  35. The way I look at history is a final draft of a paper. You start out with the facts and slowly your paper is edited down so that it sounds the way it should. It’s impossible to learn everything about an event in history because you can never know everyone’s point of view. Even if you studied just one day in history, you still wouldn’t be able to point out every single aspect of that day. Because of this I think history is manipulated and toyed with to the point where I don’t know if I should believe any of it. I remember one time in middle school tow girls got in a fight in the cafeteria. I didn’t see it but the things I heard just put people and the world in perspective for me. So many things were being exaggerated and made up which is the case with history, too. History is only passed on by what people say and people can say anything they want. I do not think history as a whole can have an endpoint. Different events in history can have endpoints but even if we all die in 2012, history is still moving forward as long as something exists, even if that something is nothing. I do not think history is determined by a higher power. I think history is determined by individual’s actions and what people say. I do not believe a higher power exists, therefore I don’t believe history is determined by a higher power.

  36. 1. I believe that “history is knowledge”. This is true to me because we want to learn from the past so that we can make a better future. We either want to learn from the mistakes that were made in the past, (aka. Holocaust, or World Wars), or learn from what we achieved in the past so that we can repeat this in the future. Learning from the past is very important to shape the decisions that we make in the future. This is why I believe that “history is knowledge”.
    2. I don’t think that history can have an end point. If there were an end point to history, it would be s when there is nobody left on the Earth to make history. This can be like in 2012 when the world is supposedly going to cease to exist. But, there is a part of me that thinks that history never ends. I also think this because even if the world didn’t exist anymore, I believe that there are other life forms out there that are making their own history well after ours ceases to exist. Even though it is not our own history, history will still exist.
    3. I do not absolutely believe that God –or any other higher power for that matter- is the one controlling our history. I believe that we make our own decisions that can make or break history. Even though God or another higher power may influence these actions, God does not have complete control over making history.

    Carleigh Bechtolt

  37. History is everything that has happened in the past. I think of history as a combination of events that have happened in the past because everyone’s history is different. Every single person and place have their own personal history and past. People and places have history, like where they came from, and how they got to where they are today. History has no end point. History is a never ending cycle of events happening every second of everyday. Nothing and no one can stop history from ending. I think that history is determined by people’s actions, and not by God or a higher power. People are the factor that creates history. We are the ones that created what has happened in the past. Since history is our past, God couldn’t have created our whole past. We as humans control most of our future, which then becomes our past sooner or later. So, if we created it, how could history be determined by God or a higher power?
    Hilary Sircus

  38. History is all of the events that have occurred or that are occurring currently. History is what we make every day, or what is made by nature. It is constantly happening and even though you may do something at a specific time, what you are doing will become history. Saying this, history does not have to be some huge, catastrophic even that occur, but it may be something simple as in you could have had to do a major paper. After it was done, in your history, you did a paper.
    There is no end point in history. Once it happens, it always will have happened. Even if someone were to erase history in a book, or censor it from people, the matter of the fact is, is that it still had happened. Most likely, it will be recorded by someone if it did. Even if the earth were to end, history will still exist. It is the events that have occurred and cannot be destroyed unless one was to go back in time and not allow it to happen. History will always be, and never die.
    History is not determined by a god or some higher power because either people create history, or natural events. Since I don’t even believe in a god or higher power and that people control what they do, in my mind there isn’t any way possible. If there was a god or something, than unless he created the earthquake or physically made the person do an event, it wouldn’t be possible it was because of him/her/it.
    Nick slish

  39. 1. History is uncertain. I chose to fill in the blank this way because none of us were there to witness it for ourselves and facts, people, anything could easily be misconstrued. The obvious argument for what I said is that for a lot of historical events there are witnesses, who can speak for the event and provide concrete, certain evidence. A lot of people tend to have a skewed vision of things depending on family, place of residence, etc. Which can lead to the problem of bias and facts being twisted to sound like, for example someone who is Irish may feel the genocide they went through was worse than the Holocaust, or vice versa. In that case some students will get more information on the Irish genocide as opposed to the Holocaust.
    2. I do not believe that history has an endpoint until the human race hits an end point. Every day we are making history, there are new advancements and discoveries, we’ve set a new record or broken an old myth. History is continual, from one year, decade, or century to the next. One day the election of 2008, where the first black president was voted into office will show up in our grandchildren’s history books
    3. I do not agree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by God or a higher power. I think that history has a lot to do with mankind and what we do, along with random events that can’t be controlled such as natural disasters.

    Jessica Keyes
    4th hour

  40. 1. History is vulnerable. I say this because history is literally “his story” and is at risk of misinterpretation or exaggeration. In todays society, not even documented film or other recordings can be depended upon because there is so much technology solely made for changing the truth. If somebody somehow went back in time and filmed what happened, I’m sure it would be different than what was recorded (written?), given the film wasn’t edited in any way. History is like a game of telephone- you try to pass these “facts” from generation to generation but a player can always decide to mix up the game and pass lies down the line. History cannot be trusted, but it is also important, the true parts at least. 
2. I believe history can have an endpoint. If 2012 happened, I believe history would end because no one would be capable of recording anything. Although history would have an endpoint, I believe it could restart and have a new beginning. If 2012 didn’t happen, I think history would become cumulative and never end unless all living species were wiped out somehow. 
3. Because I am Christian, I do believe history is determined by a higher power (God), but humans are given free will and make choices that can alter the course of history that isn’t necessarily what God planned for everyone. I believe there are coincidences and unexpected faults, but God rolls with the punches. I don’t know all the facts, but maybe God has nothing to do with history, or maybe God controls every breath we take. Its unknown, but history points us towards advancing socially, economically, technologically, and medically, which is what I think what God wanted.

  41. History is something that can be made and found and it’s everywhere. People often associate history with the more notable or significant things from our past, but history takes place everyday. The Great depression, well that’s history, and the recession we just got out of nearly a month ago, that’s history too. History isn’t just the civil way and the American Revolution. History is everywhere. History can be made, and I say this because lets say, I find the cure to cancer, find the lost city of Atlantis in Lake Michigan or if I win 15 gold medals in the Olympics. If any one of these things happened to me, my name would go down in history and I would be a part of history for the next generations to pass down along with myself. History can be found for the same reasons above, finding the cure, finding ancient artifacts that lead to new thoughts/history.
    History cannot have an end point but it did have a starting point and that began with Adam and Eve. It stared with them and I believe it will never end. History is taught all over the world, if this stopped people would teach themselves and they would be able to understand the past by witnessing it. But for history to be present forever, it must be recorded and passed down to newer generations. If all of mankind died and the world ended, they’re would still be history, and it would be happening just without anyone recording it/remembering it to pass down to newer generations. History is just the past, and the only way for an end point is if the universe is destroyed along with everything with it.
    No, I don’t agree with Hegel’s assertion that history is determined by God or another higher power because that would be against my beliefs/religion. I believe man is free and is able to change there destiny and Hegel is saying God controls us and he determines our fate and I don’t agree with that. God created mankind but he’s not controlling it, he created us and we are making history while they are overseers.

  42. Marcus Johnson 5th Hour

    1. History is the past, regardless the time at which it is done. To me, history is a cultures story and the moments that occurred in that past. Some may have more of an impact on the future kids reading it, for instance the civil war is more of an impacting moment of history then a moment in the past when Abe Lincoln went to the bathroom but its still history.

    2. No, history is ever lasting. History will never end because there is always a future and as long as there is a future something has to become the past. Like me right now, everything I have typed so far is history but as I said before it just isn’t important enough to put in a text book for the future generations to see. Now, some may say “Well the worlds gotta end some time”, well the world may end but history writes itself. I’m sure if the world were to end there would still be someone out there documenting the events that occurred, whether it be a human race on the moon or a alien race for that matter.

    3. No, I feel that its us, the people/individual, that determines history but I do believe that God or a Higher Power puts us in decision making opportunities to steer us in different directions. I think the decisions we make are the only things that impact our future and because we control the future we control what becomes the past.


Thanks for commenting. Your message will appear as soon as Mr. W. approves it. Thanks.