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Historical ContinuityKenneth G. Ramey Salem-News.com
To translate information from past to present with any degree of accuracy, one must be a student of cultural differences and human nature in addition to relying on Psychic Continuity to determine his conclusions.
(PASO ROBLES, Calif.) - Historical facts must be substantiated by no less than three pieces of corroborative evidence. But, this criterion alone could verify what is patently untrue because historical evidence might accidentally, or on purpose, be distorted. The current construction of the Bush-legacy is an example of historical manipulation to re-write history in his favor.
Psycho-history is a more comprehensive approach to understanding the past that does not reject old values, but neither does it ignore the psychic-continuity of man. Historians, in addition to their proprietary tools, use those of compatible disciplines that allow for circumstantial, or real possibilities that logically lead to what seems a more likely scenario; subject always to later more enlightened revision.
Each moment in time is unique unto itself, and each passing moment contributes to the value of change that is compounded by every subsequent passing moment. How, then, if change is so dynamic can we so much as hope to understand, let alone appreciate, a past that may be geographically or centuries removed from our time and place? Continuity of emotion is part of the answer; the rest is attributable to community that exists because man is a social being.
Community is as natural to man as is his individuality and involves him in a cultural-milieu that rises above his individuality. There are primary-cultures and sub-units not all of which conform entirely to the general will of the Community that is presumed to be derived from God, especially at the national level. Sub-cultures have priorities beneath those of primary societies, but possess the essentials necessary to be considered part of the whole, unless they are radical and determined deviants.
History is an art as much as a science, and historical continuity uses psychic-speculation based on the presumption that there is a constancy in human emotion that allows investigators to commune with another age or culture. Key to understanding the distant past are translations of deciphered languages that speak familiarly of times-past that resonate with times-present in ways to which Historians relate by comparing what is known with how they sense people might have reacted under similar circumstances.
The general-will of a community - its “band of acceptance,” what leaders can command, and what the people will accept - is composed of all its elements and is determined by member-reactions to common events rather than by majority-rule that frequently amount to ballot-decisions by less than the entire membership.
Democratic Societies enjoy a relatively wide band of acceptance that allows freedom of expression so long as it does not interfere with the rights and enjoyment of others. Theocracies are dictatorial, and if people commit to their leader’s demands, have narrow bands of acceptance. Primary cultures that accommodate sub-culture types, have bands of acceptance that fall somewhere between the extremes, and some sub-cultures are notable for having moved from a lower status to the highest, as did Christianity in 312 A.D., and Nazi Germany in the 20th Century.
The Evangelical Movement currently is enthusiastically seeking the position of Primacy by an aggressive patriotism that has taken control of the Republican Party with the goal of replacing America’s Secular Government with a Theocracy subject to its confused Christian ideals. If it succeeds America’s band of acceptance will narrow, and its freedoms decline, as they have under the rule of Geo. W. Bush, a committed apostle of Evangelists and what they say is the word of God. The Religious Right wants to control our lives by returning America to the Middle Age when Religion was the “decider,” and the Inquisition condemned non-conformists to the flames of an artificial hell.
The U.S. is the melting-pot of the world, and immigrants flock here to embrace its primary values and norms, but often begin by seeking the comfort of cultural certainty by moving into neighborhoods of familiar traits. Children adapt more quickly and frequently are the catalysts that help immigrant families assimilate more fully into their new culture.
Territorial Imperative favors primary cultures because they usually prevail in cases of conflict of interest, but not always. It took Spain seven hundred years to expel the moors and Jews from its territory. And in recognition of Spain's contribution to the Catholic-cause, Rome’s Holy See granted Spain in 1492, Royal Patronage, allowing its monarchy to appoint bishops and dole out religious honors on a footing equal to that of the Holy See. Catholicism became Institutional in the New World soon after its discovery.
In 1525, Hernán Cortez invaded Mexico and moved on Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital where its monarch, Montezuma II, was killed. How and why Montezuma was killed became a course-exercise in college when each student was given a portfolio containing every known account of his death, and was asked to determine the truth based upon the evidence provided.
The truth was obscured by multiple versions written over centuries many of which were religious treatises based not on fact but written by persons determined to feed the propaganda mill. The hyperbole of the Conquistadores trying to impress their Catholic Majesties was coincident to events, but their exquisite exaggeration only added to the difficulty of determining the truth. - A paperback edition of, “Letters from Mexico,” translated by Anthony Pagden, available from -amazon.com/books - is a perfect example of their audacious intent. By eliminating all accounts obviously based on hearsay, or that were tainted by time and purpose, the remaining evidence sensitized me to the subtleties of the Aztec drama, but Historically speaking, the truth can never be known beyond educated guesswork.
Montezuma, by placating Cortez, placed himself between his people and the Spaniards and paid the price while a “guest” in Spanish custody. Montezuma supposedly was killed by a stone thrown by one of his people, but the more likely scenario is that the Spaniards killed him and threw his body over the wall of their defense to divert attention from their intended flight from the siege that has since been referred to as “el noche de triste.” And a sad night it was, for Cortez retreated with great loss. subsequently he managed to regroup, and by adding thousands of Indian allies to his ranks, won a victory that recovered his losses and set the example for Spanish invasions that eventually subdued the entire South American continent, the Philippines and other islands of the Eastern Pacific.
A professor of Mexican persuasion taught a course on Mexican Culture, and insisted all peoples are culture-bound that ties everyone to the culture of his youth. His students were mostly Hispanic, and I suspect his motive was in part political. But, pride in the magnificence of Spanish achievement, once the greatest empire on earth, is appealing, and students who return home after college will merge into the society of their birth for the communal comfort it offers, or out of a sense of national pride.
Yet, to the extent community contributes to ease of mind, to the same extent will man be beholden to his community. There are Hispanics, as well as other immigrants, who sought to better their lives by becoming U.S. citizens and have adapted well to its values and norms. And persons of hyphenated origin do retain psychic ties to old national customs, but when the chips are down they also serve in defense of their culture of choice.
Traditionalists are no less patriotic, but cling to their culture-comforts within a zone of common-expectation. In the United States, they are most prevalent below the Mason-Dixon Line, and in the Rural West and Mid-West, where dyed in the wool Conservatism clings to “old-time religion,” that constitutes the base of the Republican Party. The Religious Right cultivates these areas for susceptible followers to enhance its agenda.
Historical Continuity is the tool Historians use to deal comfortably and realistically with loss. For loss is noting more than what is past, even if it is recent. History makes the past come alive in resonate-ways that give meaning to the present, and through understanding allows man to appreciate, if he is willing, the needs and possibilities of the present.
But it should be obvious that just as cultures differ, people are not the same. To translate information from past to present with any degree of accuracy, one must be a student of cultural differences and human nature in addition to relying on Psychic Continuity to determine his conclusions.
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