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Must We Divide History Into Periods?

Here is a good read I pulled from the History News Network, briefly reviewing a book recently translated from the French, Must We Divide History Into Periods?

Inside Higher Ed - An Error of Era

Here’s the article’s opening paragraph:

George Orwell opened one of his broadcasts on the BBC in the early 1940s by recounting how he’d learned history in his school days. The past, as his teachers depicted it, was “a sort of long scroll with thick black lines ruled across it at intervals,” he said. “Each of these lines marked the end of what was called a ‘period,’ and you were given to understand that what came afterwards was completely different from what had gone before.”

The way I have learned Eng Lit here at Saylor, it’s also periods. Even though the periods evolve into eachother as a continuous flow, it is probably right to divide them, because they are notably different from one another. At least for learning purposes. But the periods don’t really exist, they are an invention from science and the educational system. It is just one flow that is continuous. Like a good combo from Mike Tyson is a flow, but can be divided into seperate punches :smile:

I do appreciate what the author of the article said here:

Besides, the disadvantages of possessing a schematic or clichéd notion of history are small by contrast to the pleasure that may come later, from learning that the past was richer (and the borders between periods more porous) than the scroll made it appear.

It is fun grow older and come to learn that the world and its past is more complicated than the simple version we we taught.

Evidently haha. Just look at our present life. Why should the past be any different? We were and still are the same species, with the same characteristics. In my opinion nothing ever really changes.