The Lessons of History

A summary of The Lessons of History

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The Lessons of History par Mind Map: The Lessons of History

1. Economics

1.1. History is inflationary. Do not hoard money.

1.2. Profit motive must be used to motivate. Substitutes such as slavery or ideology are too costly or transient

1.3. People are judged on their ability to produce, except in war when they are judeged on their ability to destroy.

1.4. Disparity of wealth

1.4.1. Is due to disparity of ability

1.4.2. Democracy accelerates the disparity

1.4.2.1. For example: America had relative equality before 1776 but since then the country has seen an influx of physical, mental and economics differentiation. The result is a disparity greater than Imperial Rome.

1.4.2.2. A tipping point occurs where the strength of numbers of the poor rivals the strength of ability in the small number of rich.

1.4.2.2.1. Laws to redistribute wealth

1.4.2.2.2. Revolution to redistribute poverty

1.4.3. Dictatorships slows the concentration

1.5. Is progress real?

1.5.1. It depends on how you define it. If like most you define it by happiness, then the case appears lost

1.5.1.1. A child would be a more advance product of life if so

1.6. Human corruptibility and incompetence make governmental control of industry impractical and the best economy is laissez-faire that realise on the natural impulses of people"

2. Hesitations

2.1. History is never accurate

2.1.1. Biased historians

2.1.2. Inconclusive evidence

2.1.3. Even the choice of material and use of adjectives by historians has an affect.

2.1.4. Distorted by patriotic or religious partisanship

2.2. History is different depending on which lens we use to look at it, for example a geologist the surface of the earth is fluid.

2.3. Predictions, from past to future, are hazardous, because of acceleration of change.

2.4. History is so rich that a case for anything can be made by selection bias.

2.5. "History smiles at attempts to force its flow into theoretical patterns, generalisations"

2.5.1. Lesson: Be patient with reality and respect others delusions (as we all are)

3. The Earth

3.1. Lesson: Modesty

3.1.1. At any moment a comet could wipe us out

3.2. After 1492 and the voyages of Columbus and Vasco de Garma:

3.2.1. The power and wealth of the Mediterranean (Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Venice) declined

3.2.1.1. The renaissance faded

3.2.2. The Atlantic nations grew

3.2.2.1. Spread their power over the world.

3.2.3. Airplanes will alter the map of civilization.

3.2.3.1. The commerical advantage of countries such as UK and France with their coastlines will be lost.

3.2.3.2. The handicap of countries like Russia and Brazil with excess land mass will be eroded.

3.2.3.3. Geographical factors matter less as technology improves.

4. Biology

4.1. Life is competition

4.1.1. Peaceful during times of plenty

4.1.2. Violent during times of scarcity

4.1.3. Corporation may seem to prove this wrong but it is a tool of competition

4.1.3.1. We co-operate in our group: our families, community, club, religion, political party

4.1.3.2. Competing groups have the same traits as competing individuals: acquisitive, greedy, prideful, and hostility for out groups

4.1.3.2.1. Our human tendencies of being greedy, quarlesome because our DNA rememebrs when we had to chase, fight and kill to survive and to eat to capacity for fear of famine.

4.1.4. Corporation may seem to prove this wrong but it is a form of competition

4.2. Life is selection

4.2.1. Some people are better equipped than others to meet the tests of survival.

4.2.2. We are all born unfree and unequal, constrained by our physical and mental heredity.

4.2.2.1. Hereditary differences result in social and artificial inequalities. The early adoptors make the strong stronger and the weak realitively weaker.

4.2.2.2. Freedom and equality are enemies. Free countries will see inequalities multiply, for example with England and America under Laissez-Faire. To throttle inequality freedom must be sacrificed like in Russia in 1917.

4.2.2.3. Equality is biologically doomed as generally the only people that want it are below average and the superior are above average.

4.2.2.3.1. The best we can hope for is equality of legal justice and educational opportunity.

4.2.2.4. Freedom and equality are yin and yang. Free people will

4.2.3. Nature loves differences, which are necessary for selection and evolution.

4.3. Life must breed

4.3.1. Nature likes quantity of off spring to help it find quality.

4.3.2. Nature likes the struggle that picks the winners.

4.3.3. Nature is more interested in species than individual.

4.4. Nature does not agree with our definitions of 'good' or 'bad'. Nature defines good as what survives and bad as which becomes extinct.

5. Human Nature

5.1. (1) Instincts (heredity), (2) Habits and (3) Feelings - Despite being opposites, they work together. For example, submissive and masterful people work together in business and the innovating minority are followed by the majority.

5.1.1. Action/Sleep

5.1.1.1. Habits

5.1.1.1.1. Play/Rest

5.1.1.1.2. Work/Sloth

5.1.1.1.3. Curiosity/Indifference

5.1.1.1.4. Manipulation/Hesitation

5.1.1.1.5. Thought/Dreaming

5.1.1.1.6. Innovation/Imitation

5.1.1.1.7. Art/Disorder

5.1.1.1.8. Buoyancy/Fatigue

5.1.1.2. Feelings

5.1.1.2.1. Energy/Inertia

5.1.1.2.2. Eagerness/Boredom

5.1.1.2.3. Wonder/Doubt

5.1.1.2.4. Absorption/Vacuity

5.1.1.2.5. Resolution/Acceptance

5.1.1.2.6. Aesthetic Feeling/Confusion

5.1.2. Fight/Flight

5.1.2.1. Habits

5.1.2.1.1. Approach/Retreat

5.1.2.1.2. Competition/Co-operation

5.1.2.1.3. Pugnacity/Timidity

5.1.2.1.4. Mastery/Submission

5.1.2.2. Feelings

5.1.2.2.1. Courage/Anxiety

5.1.2.2.2. Rivalry/Friendliness

5.1.2.2.3. Anger/Fear

5.1.2.2.4. Pride/Humility

5.1.3. Acquisition/Avoidance

5.1.3.1. Habits

5.1.3.1.1. Eating/Rejection

5.1.3.1.2. Hoarding/Spending

5.1.3.1.3. Property/Poverty

5.1.3.2. Feelings

5.1.3.2.1. Hunger/Disgust

5.1.3.2.2. Greed/Prodigality

5.1.3.2.3. Possessiveness/Insecurity

5.1.4. Association/Privacy

5.1.4.1. Habits

5.1.4.1.1. Communication/Solitude

5.1.4.1.2. Seeking Approval/Fearing disapproval

5.1.4.1.3. Generosity/Selfishness

5.1.4.2. Feelings

5.1.4.2.1. Vanity/Shyness

5.1.4.2.2. Kindliness/Hostility

5.1.4.2.3. Sociability/Secretiveness

5.1.5. Mating/Refusal

5.1.5.1. Habits

5.1.5.1.1. Sexual Activity/Sexual perversion

5.1.5.1.2. Courtship/Blushing

5.1.5.2. Feelings

5.1.5.2.1. Sexual Imagination/Sexual neurosis

5.1.5.2.2. Sexual love/Modesty

5.1.6. Parental Care/Filial dependence

5.1.6.1. Habits

5.1.6.1.1. Homemaking/Filial rebellion

5.1.6.2. Feelings

5.1.6.2.1. Parental Love/Filial resentment

5.2. Human nature has not changed over history or between class.

5.3. Lesson: The methods that rebel fighters condemn are soon adopted by them.

5.4. Lesson: Do not judge and discount the customs which have been developed over generations, through experimentation, wisdom and evolution.

5.4.1. The conservative resisting change is just as valuable as the liberal who proposes change. New ideas should be heard but they should also be tested before being allowed to progress. It is good that the old resist the young and that the young nudge the old. This tension of sexes, race and class comes a creative strength, a development and movement of all.

6. Morals

6.1. Economic history can be divided into 3 stages:

6.1.1. Hunting

6.1.2. Agriculture

6.1.3. Industry

6.1.3.1. Men, women and children left the community to become indviduals. Cities discouraged marriage, providing sex and pleasure and no surveillance from the village

6.2. Every vice was once a virtue. For example: aggressiveness, brutality, greed and sexual readiness

7. Governements

7.1. It is unnatural for a majority to rule

7.1.1. Difficult to organise for united and specific causes

7.1.2. If ability is concentrated in the minority, a minority government is inevitable, similar to wealth.

7.2. The best a majority can do is throw out a minority leader for another,

7.2.1. Are revolutions justified?

7.2.1.1. Yes, in some cases they are needed, when you have a inflexible and outdated government, such as Russia in 1917

7.2.1.2. In most cases the effects achieved by a revolution would have occurred anyway.

7.2.1.2.1. For example: The French Revolution overthrew the aristocracy with the business class

7.2.1.2.2. For example America would have become the world dominant power without one.

7.2.1.3. "To break sharply from the past is to court the madness that may follow the shock of sudden blows or mutilations. As the sanity of a group lies in the continuity of its traditions, in either case a break in the chain invites a neurotic reaction as in the Paris massacres of 1792".

7.2.1.4. Violent revolutions do not redistribute wealth they destroy it because wealth and money is based on trust in people and institutions, rather than the intrinsic value.

7.2.1.4.1. Land may be redistributed but over time, because of inequalities a new minority will form. The only true revolution is the enlightenment of the mind and improvement of character.

7.3. Most have been oligarchies, minorities, chosen by birth, religion or wealth (in democracies)

7.3.1. The aristocracy states that: "they are a nursery for statesmanship, a vehicle of culture manners, standards and tastes. They are a stabiliser for social fads, rapid changes in the moral code. They say, look what happened to morals, manners and style since the French Revolution.

8. War

8.1. One of the constants of history. In the past 3421 years, only 268 have been without war.

8.2. War is natural selection. The ultimate form of human competition.

8.2.1. This new era resulted in new virtues becoming helpful and previous virtues became vices. Industriousness was now more advantageous than bravery and thrift more profitable than violence and peace better than war. Children were seen as an economic asset so birth control would be immoral in a relationship but controlled by unmarried woman as the loss of virginity might mean unprotected parenthood.

8.2.2. It is a source of ideas, inventions, institutions and nations.

8.3. The causes of war are the same for the causes of competition between individual people.

8.3.1. Agression

8.3.2. Pride

8.3.3. Acquisitivness

8.3.4. States have our same instincts without our restraint because:

8.3.4.1. It is strong enough to defy

8.3.4.2. There is no superstate to offer it protection

8.3.4.3. There is no international law, moral code with effective force.

8.3.5. Pride gives vigor to individuals as nationalism gives extra force to diplomacy.

8.3.5.1. When the nations of Europe overthew the aristocracy. They encouraged nationalism as a supplement to the army/navy.

8.3.5.2. When conflict was envisaged with a country. Hate was stocked and triggering catch words were used to bring hatred to a point of ignition. Despite this, they stressed their love of peace.

8.4. The General Says:

8.4.1. "It is pitiful that so many young men die in battle but more die in car accidents than in war, and many riot and rot due to lack of discipline. They need an outlet for their combativeness, their adventurousness. If they must die sooner or later why not let them dir for their country in the aura of glory.

8.4.2. A long period of peace may fatally weaken the muscles of a country

8.4.3. The 10 commandments must be silent when self preservation is at stake.

8.4.4. "Some conflicts are too fundamental to be resolved by negotiations. A world order will not come about by a gentlemans agreement but by decisive victory one of the great powers that will be able to enforce international law. State will only unite when they are in common attacked from without. Until we make contact with another species, only then will we be united"

8.5. Peace is an unstable equilibrium which can only be kept with equal power between nations.