Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Every true history is contemporary history"

"Every true history," said Benedetto Croce, "is contemporary history."

Croce is an idealist philosopher who scorned the materialist theorists like Karl Marx and Friedrich Hegel. Normally, the materialists attempt to reduce history to a few objective principles; hence not only that history has one unique truth, but also that we may look into the future of the history by tracing the path of the truth. By contrast, the idealists such as Croce and Rousseau believe that history is a series of lies. The written history is thus whatever we CHOOSE to be the closest to the truth.

Basically, my view of history is materialist. In fact, my model of Web evolution is grounded on the assumption that there exist objective laws guiding the growth of World Wide Web.

On the other hand, however, I agree to Croce's famous quote, especially when we look at it in another angle. When Croce said every true history is contemporary history, I would rather assume his emphasis was that history truly repeated itself. Moreover, any contemporary history is nothing but a repeated cycle that has happened before. This is indeed another implicit thought behind my model of Web evolution. In the model, I have analogized the evolution of the Web to the growth of mind of human beings. Web evolution is a piece of contemporary history, while the growth of mind of human beings is something that happened before (and now also of course). There is indeed nothing really new under the sun with respect to history.

No comments: