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Mitch Skiles

Owner/Contributor, LuxPerci.com

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Can we look at the past when looking for future solutions to modern problems?

I read a book called "The Black Swan" by Nassim Taleb which proposes the idea that the world is incredibly unpredictable. These "Black Swan" events control integral moments in the history of our species; whether that be a stock market crash or 9/11. In hindsight we may see a trend, but at any given moment the future of a new black swan event is impossible to predict. I am wondering that if this is the case, can we still look into the past to find solutions to problems. I did an analysis of Israel while looking for a solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict and found an interesting economic trend when compared to cooperation. (If you would like to read my study visit http://luxperci.com/solution-arab-israeli-conflict/ ) Is this a fair assumption?

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    Aug 21 2012: I guess the bigger question to ask here is "What is the job of the historian?" Are they looking at the past to keep us from repeating it, or are they merely a form of artist trying to piece together and appreciate The Human?
    • Aug 21 2012: I realize that perfect objectivity is not possible, but I would hope that most historians are just trying their best to record what actually happened, and do it in a way that is interesting. It is the job of the problem solvers to use the output from the historians to improve their solutions. It is the job of the artist to use the output of the historians as inspiration.

      I suppose some people could combine these roles, but I sure hope someone is just trying to give us the truth of our past. We need it, for many purposes.
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        Aug 22 2012: We need it, for many purposes

        Seconded.
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        Aug 22 2012: Condoleezza Rice has been quoted saying this: “Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same."

        your thoughts?
        • Aug 22 2012: I just pointed out that historians should write the truth. If you want more of my obvious thoughts, here they are:

          -- Headlines must grab attention to sell.
          -- Journalists are not historians, and should not try to write as historians write.
          -- I do not know the context of her statement, but I strongly suspect that Condoleezza Rice's statement was self serving.
          -- Historians enjoy the perspective of distance (through time), can frame events in the context more extensively, and they enjoy the luxury of doing extensive research. Also, historians do not have a daily deadline.

          Thats about it. Real profound thoughts will cost you.
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          Aug 22 2012: Mitch Darling - you quote a NeoCon to me?
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      Aug 22 2012: When you asked whether we should or should not take into account the past as we approach modern problems, I understood you to mean experience rather than the work of historians.

      Did I misunderstand?
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        Aug 22 2012: Either perspective is appreciated, I meant both, because I think each has its own value

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