Recordkeeping and History
How We Chronicle the Past
How Do Animals and Plants “Do” History?
In the beginning the earth was a bare plain. All was dark. There was no life, no death. The sun, the moon, and the stars slept beneath the earth. All the eternal ancestors slept there, too, until at last they woke themselves out of their own eternity and broke through to the surface.
With their great stone knives, the Ungambikula carved heads, bodies, legs and arms out of the bundles. They made the faces and the hands and feet. At last human beings were finished.
History Based on Memory
The Importance of Evidence
Have We Gotten Better at Studying the Past?
For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practise their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are not part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant...since they are not wise, but only appear wise.(Plato in Twelve Volumes, sections 275a–275b)