Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Riddle For Historians

What is history then other than the way in which the spirit of man takes in the events which are impenetrable to him, something in which only God knows whether there is a relationship holding it together, in which that spirit replaces an incomprehensible thing with something comprehensible, underwrites with his ideas of external purposefulness a totality which really can be known only from within, and also assumes chance events, where a thousand small causes were at work. At any one time everyone has his own individual necessity so that millions of trends run next to each other in parallel, crooked, and straight lines, intersect each other, help, hinder, flow forward and backwards, thus taking on in relation to each other the character of chance and, to say nothing of the effects of natural events, thus render it impossible to prove a compelling, all-encompassing necessity for events.

-- Franz Grillparzer

No comments: