On History

“History is a powerful instrument. At its best, it provides a perspective on the past and casts a light on the future. It populates human consciousness with heroes, saints and martyrs whose example awakens in everyone touched by it capacities they had not imagined they possessed. It helps make sense of the world—and of human experience. It inspires, consoles and enlightens. It enriches life. In the great body of literature and legend that it has left to humanity, history’s hand can be seen at work shaping much of the course of civilization—in the legends that have inspired the ideals of every people since the dawn of recorded time, as well as in the epics of the Ramayana, in the exploits celebrated in the Odyssey and the Aeneid, in the Nordic sagas, in the Shahnameh, and in much of the Bible and the Qur’án.”

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