, 35 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1) Re-read ‘the lessons of history’ by Will and Ariel Durant. Some insights/quotes/extracts below

Our knowledge of any past event is incomplete. Most history is guessing and the rest is prejudice. Other sciences tell us how we might behave. History tells us how we have behaved.
2) History is the map of human character. To know how the man will act you must know how man has acted. The laws of biology are the fundamental lessons of history. Human nature has largely been unchanged throughout history – the means change, but the motives remain the same.
3) The individual instincts were hardwired into us by evolution. They are millions of years old. The social instincts are much younger and were learned over the last 70,000 years. Inequality among humans is inherent in the unequal distribution of inborn ability.
4) Society is made up of the imitative majority and the innovating minority. “History in the large is the conflict of minorities; the majority applauds the victor and supplies the human material of social experiment.”
5) Morals change with the times as a reflection of what is necessary to grow and survive. Religion has been constantly present in history.“As long as there is poverty there will be gods.”
6) The constant friction in societal structure is btwn the rulers & the ruled. Every economic system must rely on some form of the profit motive to stir people to productivity. Like heartbeat, societies alternate in cycles of wealth concentration/redistribution (violent/peaceful)
7) The evolution of humans was a social one, not a biological one. “History is a fragment of biology” – “all the chronicles and achievements of man fall humbly into the history and perspective of polymorphous life.”
8) Life is a competition and humans are born unequal. “Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law.” “War is a nation’s way of eating.”
9) “Nature loves difference as the necessary material of selection and evolution.” “Freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.”
10) Freedom and equality are everlasting enemies. When one fails, the other dies. Only the man below the average desires equality. Those who are conscious of being above average desire freedom. In the end, superior ability has its way.
11) Evolution in man has been social and cultural rather than biological, transmitted to generations by imitation, custom, or education. A minority of people are “heroes of action,” pushing past the customs of culture to adapt society to new situations
12)Morals are the way society exhorts behavior from its members. Morals change with the times and economic engine, from hunting to agriculture to industry. It’s possible that things that are vices today were once virtues. Moral codes differ because they adjust to the situation.
13)Morals in hunter era were very different from the agricultural era: greed, cruelty, polygamy. Anything that promoted survival was paramount, including fighting and killing.
13a) Agriculture regime required new virtues: industriousness > bravery, regularity > violence, peace > war, children = economic assets. Strong familial authority.
13b) Industrial revolution changed it again: children = individuals, not economic assets, marriage delayed, the authority of parents not as important, education > religion
14) “Civilizations decay quite leisurely” – Rome lasted for 5 centuries. When a civilization declines, its memory can live on, however. Ancient Greece may be long gone, but Plato is more widely read now than he was in his own time.
15) The ultimate result of the industrial revolution was the replacement of religious entities with secular ones. Previously we thought laws were dictated by God. Now it is clear that they are dictated by fallible humans.
16) You can’t fool all of the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.

Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice. Knowledge of past events is incomplete, inaccurate, clouded by missing evidence & biased historians.
17) Human history is a brief spot in space. Climate no longer controls us but still limits us. A tornado can ruin in an hour the city that took a century to build. Civilizations grew along the water. It’s the life of organisms & towns and cheap transport for trade.
18) “It is not the race that makes the civilization, it is the civilization that makes the people: circumstances geographical, economic, and political create a culture, and culture creates a human type.”
19) History is a fragment of biology. Laws of biology apply to history. The first lesson is life is competition. Life is peaceful when food abounds, violent when mouths outrun the food.
20) Cooperation is real but a tool of competition. We cooperate in our group to compete better vs. other groups. True in families, communities, clubs, parties, “race”, nations, etc
21) Inequality grows with the complexity of civilization. Economic development specializes functions & differentiates abilities. Makes men unequally valuable to their group.

Freedom & equality are sworn enemies. When one prevails the other dies. Utopias of equality are doomed.
22) You cannot make men equal by passing laws. Economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism. No matter who is in power, the gains gradually accrue to the most clever and talented.

The concentration of wealth is a natural result, recurs in history.
23) Then, eventually, there is some fracturing of the order, a new minority rises to..power, and the pattern repeats itself.

Men are judged by their ability to produce — except in war, when they are ranked according to their ability to destroy.
24) Rate of concentration varies with economic freedom permitted by morals & laws. Concentration may reach a point where the strength of the number in the many poor rivals the ability in the few rich. Critical juncture. Solved either by legislation redistribution or revolution.
25) Liberty is possible when security has been achieved, but until that point u are facing competition. It is only because of competition that we developed the ability to create liberty. The first condition of freedom is limitation. If freedom is absolute, then it dies in chaos
26) You should never trust an old man to be the judgment of youth because they would just cut off the bold things youth would do before they could do them. This boldness, in fact, is the only way that humankind advances. Most ideas we propose in our boldest moments are wrong.
27)Many new ideas are not really any good, but they are where real change comes from.
New ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely.
28)“As the sanity of the individual lies in the continuity of his memories, so the sanity of a group lies in the continuity of its traditions; in either case a break in the chain invites a neurotic reaction.”
29) “Education has spread, but intelligence is perpetually retarded by the fertility of the simple.”

— “War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization or democracy. In the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.”
30) Human evolution has been social, not biological. Evolution tells us that human nature has probably changed over the thousands of years that we’ve populated the planet, but our basic instincts to eat, sleep, reproduce are the same. It’s only our tech that’s radically different
31) History repeats itself, but only in a very general way. Civilizations may come and go, but we’re able to pass our knowledge on to each new generation, enriching human knowledge and technology over time.
32) Each generation faces new challenges and builds upon the heritage of all humans who came before. As education becomes available to the masses, future generations will benefit all the more.
33) History is philosophy teaching by examples
The excess of anything leads to its opposite reaction. (e.g., the excess of liberty leads to slavery).

Every generation rebels against the preceding one.

If Youth knew if Age could.

Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Gaurav Sharma
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!