The Winners write the History Books

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It’s an old saying that the winners write the history books, and it has been true ever since people began recording history. There are several instances of archaeology confirming that what ancient historians wrote was accurate to some degree, but we must equally regard some claims as spurious at best, and as outright propaganda at worst.
 
As literacy increased, and as the ravages of time have left more books available, things have only become more complicated. These days, you can walk into the history section of a library or bookshop and pick up books purporting to tell the history of the same events, yet come at it from very different perspectives. Which one is true? Even if the facts are undisputed, the interpretation of those facts can vary from historian to historian. Indeed, it has been said that the job of a modern historian is to murder their grandfathers, a dramatic way of saying that new theories must be put forward in order to overturn the accepted view. With that in mind, how do we know what is true? After all, we cannot go back to check for ourselves, and unless there is actual photographic or physical evidence, we are forced to rely on the interpretations of modern historians who often disagree with each other.
 
So what are the facts, and do they actually matter? After all, history cannot be changed, and it is, by definition, in the past. Its legacy may impact on our lives, but do the details really matter? We cannot alter them, and would we even want to anyway?

Another famous saying is that the only thing people learn from history is that people never learn from history. That may be true in a broad sense, but we also need to recognise that the world is a very different place to that our ancestors inhabited. Even people from three generations ago would struggle to comprehend some of the modern devices and systems we take for granted. This surely means that what worked in the past may not work in the future. There are no guarantees that trying to apply old methods to new ideas will succeed. Indeed, it is radical ideas which lead to new innovations.
 
But if there is one lesson we can take from history it is that we can achieve great things if we do not simply follow accepted doctrines. We should always strive to be unique and creative with the aim of becoming winners. Then we can each write our own history.