Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post Historical Objectivity vs Historical Impartiality
Created by John Eipper on 05/14/17 2:12 PM

Previous posts in this discussion:


Historical Objectivity vs Historical Impartiality (Robert Whealey, USA, 05/14/17 2:12 pm)

Objectivity is the great ideal of honest historians. But in real life, the Truth is hard to find. Remember the ancient Hindu parable of the three blind men trying to describe the elephant.

Since the 1st century, millions of people have read the Bible, and no two people have remembered the text the same way.

JE comments:  A curiosity:  did millions of people, or more like tens of thousands, read the Bible prior to the Reformation?  The overwhelming majority of medieval Christians could not read, and in any case, Biblical exegesis was left in the hands of the clergy.

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 103


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

  • on Writing History (Timothy Brown, USA 05/15/17 4:33 AM)
    History is lived by all, but written by few. No matter how impartial or objective an historian tries to be, they rarely can write about things they saw, heard or lived. And even when they did, they need to remember that what they only saw, heard or experienced was just a sliver of all that happened around them.

    All historians can do is their best and all their readers can do is disbelieve or believe what they write. Readers should always respect what they've written. But they should always read it with at least some skepticism--and then read on, just in case they're right.

    JE comments:  "History is written by few," but far more than a few WAISers write it.  What is it that drives them to do so?  Maybe Tim Brown can get the ball rolling on this question.

    Please login/register to reply or comment:

    • Why Do Historians Write? Toynbee's "Ethereality"; From Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 05/15/17 3:07 PM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      JE asked a a great question (Tim Brown, 15 May), with maybe a key to the future:
      What drives WAISers to contribute our small bits to discussion--and hence to history (the outside world does read it: I was recently
      found by a documentary project that saw me on WAIS, and
      I originally found WAIS in a similar way).

      The profundity in John's question is not in any answer, but in the mere
      presence of the phenomenon. In the 1940s, historian Arnold Toynbee
      noted something that the science fiction writers and futurists massively
      missed--the implication that technological progress does not tend toward
      more and better of the same (like bigger Jetson flying Super-Cars with fins,
      or Flash Gordon ray guns that are only better versions of the Colt 45).
      Instead, Toynbee pointed out "ethereality." The more the technology
      boom snowballs, the smaller and more invisible become the advances.
      And he was writing this before the computer, or even the transistor--the biggest proofs of all.

      There is indeed a mystical-seeming element
      in the human journey that would seem to both confirm and refute religion,
      a forward-moving synergy between the devices we create and that
      inexplicable x-factor called self-expression. As the Information Age caught fire,
      who would ever have predicted advances like... karaoke, where the machine
      sophistication is wedded to that old x-factor, the human desire to express,
      to embody some idea of the beautiful or to feel the swelling importance of
      communication--however one phrases it. And who would have predicted,
      as the Information Superhighway went into overdrive, the incredible potency
      of....YouTube, where the sheer force of millions of individual wills enshrines
      a historical archive of video images--not for material profit, often not even
      for personal fame, but because the essence drives the contributors to contribute, an essence that pulses at the interface where our individual selves spark with the
      great collective. This synergy is outside our knowledge constructs, something
      we can only marvel at as it unfolds, like watching the blooming of a rose.  Toynbee's "ethereality" implies (and the cyber-age has proved his prescience)
      that the eventual direction might lead to the final, "smallest" leap--beyond any
      kind of gadgets and into real understanding of the workings of the mind.

      But then, euphoric futurists have been wrong a thousand times before.
      There is the suggestion in this explosion we are undergoing, as outwardly
      invisible and unruffled as an individual face lost in thought--that human evolution
      is something beyond the simplistic mechanisms of the most doctrinaire Darwinism.
      How is it that, as if by pre-arranged signal (or by the meeting of maturational
      milestones), we are creating all these things for the benefit of powers in ourselves
      that we don't even comprehend?

      Within this great flood of questions lies the thrill
      of participating in WAIS.

      JE comments: Yes!  I'm going to crib some of Gary Moore's thoughts for a Why WAIS? section on our homepage.

      Personal fame does come to some YouTubers (Justin Bieber), but Wikipedia illustrates Gary Moore's point even more clearly.  How many famous Wikipedians can you name?  Exactly.  I've made the point before that Wikipedia is as close to a Utopian project as humanity has ever seen:  that people will catalog all human knowledge not for personal gain, but for the enrichment of all.

      Please login/register to reply or comment:

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (42701 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who