Do ou believe History to be true?

@GADHISUNU (2164)
India
July 20, 2010 4:38am CST
Yeah, that is the question. Do you think a historical account of someone could be totally true.For, if the person is-- let's say a King/Queen and one of his courtiers writes about him/her then what about the writer's bias, and the fact that he is under the King's service would make things far from true. If in addition the writer[being say an accomplished poet or Essayist] is "creating literature" then his account would be buried under the various figures of speech and metaphors! If the writer happens to be his political opponent, then he would have added his own color to it. Where would you place the accuracy of a historical account: As much as an expert astrologer's prediction of your future or as much as the weekly or monthly forecasts? Or would you like it to be placed alongside the Sciences, may be some of the behavioral sciences. For purposes of this discussion you mayeven assume you keep getting some archaeological evidence for the existence of a particular person!?! I would like to let it be known that for me History is a very interesting and absorbing subject. I simply love History.
5 people like this
21 responses
@1hopefulman (27467)
• Canada
23 Jul 10
I understand what you are saying. But since there are usually more than one account of an historical person or event, we can examine all sides and come out with an accurate picture. I would tend to view history as it has been recorded as pretty accurate. For instance the Bible has been attacked from all directions but archeology continually sheds light on it's accuracy. Its factuality is continually substantiated.
1 person likes this
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
30 Jul 10
There, when there is archaeological evidence to suport a statement, then you have some real trustworthy history.If there are several accounts of the same event as you said rightly one could extract the true account by making allowances for personal prejudices.
@dogsnme (1266)
• United States
20 Jul 10
Let me say it a different way. I believe there is truth in history. I don't necessarily believe all history is true. Man has the ability to lie. He can mislead intentionally or he can be mistaken about his understanding of things and therefore mislead unintentionally. I believe that can be a problem in historical accounts. There are absolutes in life. There are absolute truths. It is up to the individual to constantly study historical accounts to separate the truth from the lies and the mistakes. I study history. My favorite part of history is World War II. And I've come across accounts that contradict popular belief. That's why I continue to study. I don't read one book or one series of books on the war and accept that as the absolute truth.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
There you are! Several different accounts could lead you to arrive nearer the truth... provided you do the study dispassionately and closely. There may be nothing that could be absolutely true about History,Isn't it?
@dogsnme (1266)
• United States
20 Jul 10
No, there are absolute truths about history. In fact, I believe the best example of that is the Holy Bible. Unlike other accounts of history I believe the Bible can and should be accepted as historical fact beyond a doubt. Man can lie but God cannot lie.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
21 Jul 10
Uh! Oh! I did not mean The Bible at all when I talked of History. May be all or some of the Bibilical characters had historical existence. Yet the account in the Bible might not be historically accurate, because The Bible more a religious book i.e. is the extra-temporal authority or what is simply called as THE WORD of God. Here, I am not addressing that.
@carpediem17 (1317)
• Singapore
21 Jul 10
I enjoy history per se. I feel to get a fairer account of what has happened in the past, one must delve into perspectives by different authors to get a more balance view. This includes personal accounts of individuals impacted by the events.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
21 Jul 10
[Q]This includes personal accounts of individuals impacted by the events. [/Q] That is if you get to meet them in your lifetime!What would you do if you wanted to know, Why Brutus also stabbed Caesar, for instance?
• Singapore
21 Jul 10
actually i am thinking more along the lines of the writer Nien Cheng in The Rape of Nanking in which she and her family was impacted by the Japanese rape of the city. Similarly, the writer Jung Chang in Wild Swans impacted by the Cultural Revolution in China. With regards to Brutus stabbing Caesar, I shall say "et tu Brute" and find my answers in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
30 Jul 10
Yes, your example of a first hand account of the Japs rape of Nanking is to be believed. But then how many of the events are reported by the "affected". History is replete with victor's accounts only. As for taking Shakespeare as authority, well he was a poet. There could been a lot said in poetic license.
@tarachand (3895)
• India
31 Aug 10
You have yourself indicated the solution to the predicament-if a person is well known then there are going to enemies, friends and well wishers and many of them will write about that person - Also a historian will have some knowledge about the lifestyles, the rituals, the way of life during the period that the historical figure lived and hence must be able to sift out the truth with a fair amount of accuracy. Further, as a researcher of history, you have to read the points and counter points made by various sources and then judge accordingly about the accuracy of an account by a particular historian and the particular historical figure. I personally think that history should include how a person's life has affected a major portion of the environment around that person - this includes other humans, creatures, constructions and natural and created material objects. Since very few people as compared to the total population of place at a particular time make a significant impact to the environment of a place, it is a lot less cumbersome to understand that person and the raconteur.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
1 Sep 10
I agree with you. The sifting of truth like it has been said in The Vedas- saktumiva titaunA punantaH = like the flour is extracted by sifting by finer and finer meshes..., by the time you are fairly certain, that the facts gathered by you are beyond a shade of doubt, you would have exhausted youself so much and in fact you will be able to do it in respect on one or two personalities only in life.And what could you do if it is something like Indian History, where, in Ancient India very little verifiable writing is available? Yeah it would be more useful if History is studied from the point of view of what is each person/entity's contribution to the human development or downfall as the case may be so that that serves as a lesson for posterity.
@tarachand (3895)
• India
25 Oct 10
Humans tend to glorify and even deify and make larger than life those that they admire and run down those that they abhor. A trained historian will be able to ascertain with a fair amount of accuracy the truth. As fas as ancient Indian history is concerned, there are a number of word of mouth stories that are passed on for generation by raconteurs-the same person may have different versions told by different people - the art is in finding out the central thread and then trying to understand the physiology of the person or the groups within the boundaries of that time to understand what may have happened with a reasonable amount accuracy. The challenge is bringing about and collating the different versions. Give it time, I am sure that generations after of us will have a fair amount of skill sets and a far better understanding of the generations that have gone ahead of us. There is still a fair amount of work to be done on this matter.
@melmabb (580)
• Philippines
20 Jul 10
If you notice the spelling of HIS-STORY,Well how would define it, in simpler form it is HIS STORY...A STORY WHICH HE MADE, OR MY STORY,OR OUR STORY OR THEIR STORY, WE really don't know which is the truth, but as i have read about the past, stories that are made up are scrutinized by a panel , like congress and voted, even if lies are written if that story has won many votes then that would be official, correct me if i'm wrong anyway that is my opinion...History is interesting,but theirstory or the otherstory is much more interesting though...
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
So, you have just negotiated around the question whether history is true for you or not! If i read between the lines it is one form of fiction for you, and you would go for the most interesting account..?
@melmabb (580)
• Philippines
22 Jul 10
Its like a news on tv,to get attention it has to be sensationalized,some History are altered to make it more interesting..Humans tend to think and Act differently...thanks!
@T_Diamond (965)
• New Zealand
20 Jul 10
I enjoy history, but more than that, I enjoy mythology. Expecially Greek Mythology. As for history being true, yeah I believe it to be so. Just as long as it doesn't sound completely out of the world lol
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
So, you believe History to be true. What would you do to ascertian which account is right when you come across two different and mutually contradictory accounts?
• India
21 Jul 10
do you know any such thing??? we have many contradiction is history.. but we peoples believe in what it has been return in past... I would be great if we broke that...
@pinky31ps (329)
• India
21 Jul 10
well to some extent you are right. writers are biased. few of them present things in the molded way. but not all the time. the minute details may be a bit changed but the real fact remains the same. because there are many people who love history so much that they can't even think of hampering it. so it is just how much you crave for the reality. you have to work alot to find the depth of the subject..
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
30 Jul 10
True one needsto find a lot of corroborative evidence to find the real truth.I am alluding to later day victors approriating credit for some of the earlier peoples' works, and things of that sort.
• China
21 Jul 10
I love history so much , and I also believe that most of history is true . History can let us know many stories about any great men in the world , and we can learn many experiences from them . That is my view about history . do you think so ?
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
30 Jul 10
I love history too. Standard historian's accounts. Historical writers- given that they check there accounts against documentary/archaeological evidence. That history has a learning value is beyond a shade of doubt. You cn definitely draw a lot of inspiration.
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
21 Jul 10
Hi Gadhisunu, I don't think his story should be discounted but you have to understand that the account is all based on so many variables as you have just suggested and it is true. Now I grew up in the same home with the same parents as my 2 brothers. It is interesting that we all experienced the same situations in our childhood but our perceptions of what actually took place are 3 different things....so different that one would have to wonder if we were really there at the same time. I don't think any of us is lying at all....we just all looked at and felt the events very differently.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
21 Jul 10
Very very true Sid! That is what happens when one is writing/recording/recounting accounts where humans and their behaviors are being reported. If it were only the occurrence of say the appearance of the Halley's Comet, one could expect better accuracy, and may be corroboration from another report. But a human drama unfolding before different people under identical conditions of existence could be viewed differently and hence colored. Ina way it would look like multiple views of Truth! Aren't we getting closer to religion now?
@krajibg (11940)
• Guwahati, India
21 Jul 10
Hi, If this is a personal document, say written on some politician or king or Queen and now accept as history, I would say a lot of actual facts would be missing for the writer would never furnish along things that would hit his personal negative entanglements, I would not consider history to be true. They might read nice or might be absorbing like any short story or a novel. Even the political history of any nation is fragmented. If you read between the lines two historians would be different in their input of data in their respective book. For example there are many books on India's political history. No doubt all they read nice. But are they really worth believing. The colonial period is full of fragmentation as the British never published the actual facts in their written books. So I have doubts.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
21 Jul 10
Yeah, Rajib you ar hitting nearer home. The accounts of our own Independence struggle is questionable. One simple thing woud serve as an example. The Sepoy Mutiny as the name would imply is seen and recorded as an illegal act- an act of treason against The Crown. The same thing becomes The First War of Indian Independence in our own history textbooks! Which view would you adduce to? There were way too many reasons for the war to have been triggered. May be some leaders of that time might have used it to throw out the British yoke. Does it still qualify to be called a War of Independence?
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
20 Jul 10
It's a well known fact that the victors write the history. Doesn't automatically mean that what they're writing is untrue, but they might only present the facts that support making their side look good.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
21 Jul 10
Exactly.You said it!
@ET28LV (1895)
• Latvia
20 Jul 10
Yes I like history and I really enjoy It when we study It in school. I think there is hard to know If this fact, story, photo etc. Is real. I believe to history things, because one of people was seen It If he are written It. I do not know what other I can believe? The best history for all is world war. Take care, Have a nice day!
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
21 Jul 10
We only knothe results of WW I and WW II. I mean the destruction wrought. Do we really know what triggered the war? There are several books written by mainstream historians as well as investigative private researchers. Yet for our school history books some summarization would be available, but that may only be politically correct history.
@vathsala30 (3723)
• India
20 Jul 10
I believe it to a certain extent coz, in Hyd, Golconda and nizam palace I have seen. In Delhi, kutub Minar, and Humayun Tomb, In Agra The Great Tajmahal is history. though I will not believe 100% of them, but it makes me do believe it to some extent. In Mysore too Tippu's is there and his great grand son was now in penuary and that is what published in the news papers with his photograph too
• Philippines
20 Jul 10
Hmm... history is about facts, evidences, and proofs... but humans interpret these materials... Hmmm, according to my history professors, it really depends on the writer on how he or she explains something... Like for example,the conquered and the conquerors...
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
You have brought up one important point. The conquerors view of History is totally different from the conquered!
@topffer (33798)
• France
20 Jul 10
I am also an History lover. Indeed some historical accounts are not completely true : a courtier or a writer employed by somebody for his/her biography gives only the good sides of this person. A true obituary is also rare . It does not mean that these sources can't help, but we know that they are biased. For the last centuries -- proving the existence of a person by an archaeological evidence is very difficult : everybody has not let a name written somewhere -- we have many other sources in public and private archives that permit to have a better understanding and to write better accounts. A writer passionated by a subject can also get really involved in what he writes and be tempted to biased some facts.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
Looking at Histroy as an "experimental" way of understanding human nature would be useful. Though one cannot be ever sure of the whole truth!
@Theresaaiza (10466)
• Australia
20 Jul 10
I was never fond of History because of the pressure to memorize them but now that I am done with school, I suddenly find that I love those Historical Trivias. But I believe the accounts are not 100% accurate.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
That is my understanding too..
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
20 Jul 10
I do believe that history is true. History is so vital to our present world. I enjoyed learning all about history when i was in schhol. So much of our world and our lives is built on the foundations of the past. The future for the next generation has to come from the history that is left behind. If history were found to be false, where would that leave us? How could anything be true if history was not?
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
Here, I have the first opponent. That is really interesting. I am not saying history is untrue. I am only trying to hint that is historical writing telling you tha whole truth? Like, yeah a contemporary account is likely to be closer to the truth but what id the person relating had an axe to grind?
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
20 Jul 10
There are some part of history that are true. I hate that subject history but I find it more interesting if I have to go to historical sites here in our country. I did last month. It was very enjoyable looking at the historical sites that we have here.
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
Interesting. You would like the restriction of history to archaeology... so that more of the account could be true..?
@oldchem1 (8144)
20 Jul 10
I am a sucker for all things historical and get a real buzz being somewhere very old!! When I visited Pompeii I was completely in awe at the beauty and weight of history that was all around me and one thing was that stood out to me was how advanced the people of Pompeii had been. They had plumbing with a drainage system, which took the water out into the street. Drinking water was always close by as fountains and troughs were at the end of streets. Even then they were saving water as they had a hole in the roof of the kitchen so that they could collect the rainwater to wash their dishes. I live near to the very historic city of Lancaster and I just love visiting all the different places of historical interest around there - especially the castle. I know that we can never be too sure that what we read is the gospel truthy, but with all the evidence must of what we read I am sure is true. Then there are the parts of history that merge with myth - like King Arthur and Cam;lot. But keep it coming I say - I love to take it all in
@GADHISUNU (2164)
• India
20 Jul 10
Good, so you not only like history you are willing to give it all a truth value close to that of some real good Science.. though you have a door open that History as reported could be bunkum, or at least you do believe History could easily be intertwined with legend and fiction!?!
@o0jopak0o (6408)
• Philippines
20 Jul 10
well i find that some histories are lies or overhyped. But the end thing is still the same.