Revisionist History

It is always interesting to look back at what you were taught in High School in a new light.  For instance, I can remember in 7th grade one of our teachers teaching directly out of a book about 2 slave owners.  One was evil bad and mistreated his slaves.

The other was kind and benevolent presumably whipping only the most miscreant of his slaves.  Thus, slavery was presented to the mostly white class of impressionable 13 year olds as potentially not so bad after all.  Now I happened to be sick during that class or maybe just playing at being sick-who knows in those days!  When I came back the teacher asked me if the slaves were happy when the “good slave owner” died.  I, not knowing what had been taught said Yes they were glad he was dead.  She promptly chastised me and said, “No! They were very sad because he was good to them!” Now in fact I wasn’t there 200 years ago to fact check this but the point was that slavery was not always such a bad thing.  And keep in mind this was AFTER the civil rights movement’s first eruptions.

The good news is as I said I missed that class and never came around to understanding slavery as a good thing.

Recently I read a book on the bombing campaigns against Hitler’s Germany in WWII.  This book was written by British historian and pretty much completely discounted the role of the USAF’s Mighty 8th air force. Although acknowledging the bravery of the air crews, it basically pointed the USA out as a pig-headed ally that made the same mistakes the British did for 2 years and only contributed to the war effort in the last year 1944-45.  The implication was the Brits could have done it without us albeit taking a bit longer.

Now again I was not there to witness all of this but I highly doubt the outcome of World War 2 would have been anything like what it was had we sat it out and watched.

These are 2 examples of revisionist history that stand out to me although I am certain I could think of many more.

By the time you read this we will have completed yet another Presidential election cycle.  I guarantee you that all candidates have had to engage in revisionist history to prevent their images from being as Al Sharpton says, “besmirchified”!

The people in charge of public images know that the public has a short attention span and if you say something enough in the news it must be true. In general revisionist history is the domain of the “winners” whomever they might be and in whatever contest private or public.  It is important for some people to cover the truth up so they do not have to suffer the consequences.

And that my friend is revisionist history.

Here’s hoping it never invades your personal life!

The truth is people make mistakes and are flawed.  Ignoring those mistakes does not allow for growth.  Stubbornly clinging to the attitude or righteousness can lead you down the wrong garden path very quickly.

Today’s health and longevity secret is: Always seek out the truth! And remember what Alexander Pope said in his essay on criticism, “ To err is human to forgive is divine!”  In that way you can be at peace with yourself and the world around your flawed as it may be. That will keep you alive longer statistically speaking and certainly add to the joy in your life however much there is of it!*

As we approach Thanksgiving I hope you have a huge plate of joy and gratitude at your feast!

The original Dr Dave Woynarowski MD

*This is not some woo woo metaphysical nonsense.  The effects of perceived stress are real-for instance it can shorten the biological time clocks known as the telomeres!

 

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