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John Herman Randall, Jr. – How to make history

July 23, 2014

“The problems of one age are irrelevant to those of another. But the fact that problems must be faced does not vary. And the facing of problems illustrates a recurrent pattern. The persistence of tradition, the impingement of fresh experience, intellectual and social, upon that tradition generating new ideas which conflict with it and yet must be understood in its terms, for there are no others – so long as our culture persists in changing, it must face such cycles. That old and new will find eager partisans to give intellectual expression to the conflict, is inevitable; just as it is inevitable that peacemakers will finally effect a settlement in which will lie the germs of new wars. For the record reveals that it is the peacemakers, those who consciously strive to blend old and new in a novel pattern, who are the creators of that change. It is the peacemakers, the adjusters, Thomas, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Marx – whose ideas make further history.”

(from Nature and Historical Experience)


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