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ALL KNOWLEDGE IS THE STARTING POINT FOR A NEW SEARCH. the gift of vision, the willingness to see the future based on the experience of the past.

"Whoever wishes to foresee the future, must consult the past, for human events ever resemble those preceding of times. They are produced by men, who are ever animated by the same passions and thus have the same results." Dante

"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revise its echoes and to kindle with pale gleams the passions of formers days."
Sir Winston S. Churchill

History - a winged word - is infinite, unfixable and inescapable. In many ways it begins and ends with questions, which is to say it is a process that never really ends. It keeps moving on. It is the chronicle of the length and breadth of humankind's activities, the manuscript of the memory of life itself. It is relatively young, Of all that human beings have thought and done across the millennia, only a miniscule part has been documented.

Directed by the interplay of fate, fortune, hope and despair, men and women have been living and dying on this planet for thousands of years, most of which are shrouded in darkness. The great fog of elapsed life has descended. Facts and faces have receded into the murky mists and are lost forever. Time, the great eraser, has obscured and then effaced most traces of their earthly existence.

No written records exist of the human drama that occurred across this immense expanse of time. The pages of history are blank. Over ninety-nine per cent of humankind's existence on earth took place in this period across the silence of the centuries known as prehistory - the era back of history. While historians have pondered about the past and we know much, we know little.

"Human history is a brief spot in space and its first lesson is modesty."

Time, the proper dimension of history, is a long thing and it envelops events in the curtain of night that nothing can pierce with certainty. What remains is often so fragmentary and flawed, that history to some extent is speculative. We try to state past reality in terms of certainty, but the past has no definite shape. No prior event has a fixed meaning. Every time we try to write history, the meaning changes. All we are able to do is render our impression of it. While we know what is going to happen and the characters in our history did not, history lived and history recorded are never the same. History is an ongoing encounter between the past and the present. It is written anew by each generation in response to issues of its time, influenced and enlightened by new perspectives and different interpretations.

"History is an argument without end; the one duty we owe to history is to re-write it."

History began as myth, a traditional story of unknown authorship with a historical basis. Myth in this instance means 'an accepted account' generally believed to be true.

History is the recorded pilgrimage of people, of men and women as expressed in their words and deeds. It is the only source of awareness about us and our society. Knowledge of history extends our vision, it enlarges our minds and imagination and it expands the range of our thinking. If we are to understand ourselves, our country and the world we must know history and those who made it for "our past is theirs and their future is ours."

One of the most important of all historical lessons is: "times change but people don't; the griefs, follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact maps of our own lives."

History is thought by some to be a fragile thing, because there are many reasons to ignore the past. The modern world is too much with us. Why bother to study history? What's in it for me? It's passed and done with! Forgetaboutit!

"Where there is history young people can acquire the knowledge and wisdom of old age. Without history the aged are as children."

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