Rex Murphy: The mighty combustion of small events, and other lessons from the First World War

History, said T.S. Eliot, has many “cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.” He continues rather bleakly that what history might or could teach us emerges with “subtle confusions” offered only when our “attention is distracted.” Eliot’s is a necessary caution against seeking specific lessons from history; despite the maxim, it never “repeats itself.” Rather it is like the ancient oracles, speaking always in riddles, hiding its truths in ambiguities and perplexity. The only lessons we may draw are general ones. It will never speak to a single or particular event, but it has its maxims and morals which we cannot safely ignore.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/07/26/rex-murphy-the-mighty-combustion-of-small-events-and-other-lessons-from-the-first-world-war/

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