After listening to the hysterical comments this last week or so concerning “good” or “bad” history, I thought that I would add to the conversation with my own experience, and perhaps throw a little light on just what is “history”.
Most people know what history is as an identification piece, without knowing how it is brought to the attention of the general public. I say ”brought to the attention of”, because it is of no surprise to learn that most people do not go out of their way to seek history, lest it be about their own personal situation, eg genealogy.
History can be little more than a series of disconnected events that have to be brought together with rhetorical flourish that attracts the cultured mind to find common connectivity to a known outcome, and then to “join the dots” for that “Aha!” moment … when the incandescent flare flashes and all is revealed.
What cements the “reality” of those events as a “true history” is the evidence of the outcome of those rhetorical flourishes connected to a chain of seemingly unconnected events; what I would call the logical truth. Logical, that is, after the final outcome. The Ohhh! moment.
For instance, when the imperial colonisers decided that the land mass we know of as Australia could be “legally” claimed as “Terra Nullius”, they based their understanding of “unoccupied land” as that which was not farmed or worked in an agricultural way. A false history was deliberately created (they knew it was bullshit) to justify claiming that which was already “owned” by tribal societies who “worked” the land in a nomadic cyclic way in a seasonal cycle of traversing, harvesting, letting fallow and returning at a later season or year to re-harvest. (I have posted on this subject before: An Advanced Society).
In “Why Terra Nullius? Anthropology and Property Law in Early Australia” Stuart Banner writes that:
“The absence of Aboriginal farms was crucial, because the British were heirs to a long tradition of thought associating the development of property rights with a society’s passage through specific stages of civilization. Greek and Roman writers were unanimous in holding that property was a man-made institution.
“There is,” Cicero declared, “no such thing as private ownership established by nature.” They agreed that there had once been a time, long ago, when property was unknown, when, as Seneca put it, “the bounties of nature lay open to all, for men’s indiscriminate use.”
They knew of far-off primitive peoples like the Scythians, who lacked property even while the Greek and Roman civilizations were at their peak.
And they agreed that it was the invention of agriculture that gave rise to property rights in land. The reason the Scythians and other primitive tribes did not divide up the land they occupied, the classical writers believed, was that they were nomads who had never learned to cultivate the land. The Scythians “have no fixed boundaries,” observed the second-century writer Justin, because “they do not engage in agriculture…. Instead they pasture their cattle and sheep throughout the year and live a nomadic life in the desolate wilds.” It was only when “Ceres first taught men to plough the land,” Virgil explained, that land was first divided. When there were “[n]o ploughshares to break up the landscape,” Ovid agreed, there were “no surveyors [p]egging out the boundaries of estates.”…”
(We can now see why Roman history became “wedded” to the British imperial colonising designs).
So in effect, the Imperial British Crown invented their own version of history, and having once crossed this line, they had little choice but to declare: therefore, Captain James Cook “discovered this land”… this was neither logical, nor truthful.
Really, it was only going to be a matter of time before that little bit of bullshit was outed.
I have witnessed first hand how a “history” can be created..
It goes like this:
Ziedel’s secret carburetor
I was asking for a bit of background knowledge about a long deceased relative of mine from the local aged mechanic, Peter Pohl. He and his off-sider Vern run the only workshop in the district and have done so for near on fifty or sixty years! I don’t know, neither does anyone else … not even them!
“Name doesn’t ring any bells,” Peter frowned.
“He was a very inventive sort of chap … in the line of mechanical things,” I assisted.
“Oh, there were a lot of them about in them days,” Peter opined, “a lot of them. There was Pastor Ziedel, for instance. HE was a sort of genius. Do you know, he invented a carburetor that could halve petrol consumption in a motor? But the thing was, he was dammed clever how he done it.” And here Peter tapped the side of his nose.
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, you know he didn’t want anybody to find out how he done it, so he got those little jets and needles and seats and whatnot made in different places by different chaps so no-one person could put them all together. Oh … he was cunning alright.”
“So did you get to see how it looked?” I pushed on. Peter stopped, pulled up and looked at me in wide-eyed wonder.
“No! Of course not, it was a secret! Hell, he wouldn’t let anyone see how he done it … why, if he went to any motor event, he’d take that carburetor off and put the old one on so nobody could pinch his design. Oh, he was cunning … old Pastor Ziedel.”
“But if no one saw it, how do you know it worked?”
There was a pause in the response, which told me that this cynical line of reasoning had never before been broached, then;
“Whhyy … of course it worked, you ask anybody who knew of it. He had it on his old Holden for years … of course it worked … and dammed good too!”
“Well, I imagine some one saw it after he passed away. Was it in his estate when they went through his effects?”
“No, not that I ever heard. I suppose his son threw it out with a lot of other stuff.”
“What!” I exclaimed “I would have thought it would be a very valuable item.”
“Maybe, but because the old man was so secretive about it, I don’t suppose the sons would have known what it was if’n they came across it.”
And that is the wonderful way history is created!