Moved by the Past

Moved by the Past

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Historians go to great lengths to avoid confronting discontinuity, searching for explanations as to why such events as the fall of the Berlin Wall, George W. Busha€™s invasion of Iraq, and the introduction of the euro logically develop from what came before. Moved by the Past radically breaks with this tradition of predating the past, incites us to fully acknowledge the discontinuous nature of discontinuities, and proposes to use the fact that history is propelled by unforeseeable leaps and bounds as a starting point for a truly evolutionary conception of history. Integrating research from a variety of disciplines, Eelco Runia identifies two modes of being a€œmoved by the pasta€: regressive and revolutionary. In the regressive mode, the past may either overwhelm usa€”as in nostalgiaa€”or provoke us to act out what we believe to be solidly dead. When we are moved by the past in a revolutionary sense, we may be said to embody history: we burn our bridges behind us and create accomplished facts we have no choice but to live up to. It is the final thesis of Moved by the Past: humans energize their own evolution by habitually creating situations (a€œcatastrophesa€ or sublime historical events) that put a premium on mutations. Moved by the Past therefore offers an account of how every now and then we chase ourselves away from what we were and force ourselves to become what we are. Proposing a simple yet radical change in perspective, Runia profoundly reorients how we think and theorize about history.a€œthe adaptive unconsciousa€a€”a phrase with which he wants to highlight that most of our actions and reactions are taken ... 21 this is what norretranders calls the user illusion: we project our consciousness back onto decisions and actions that anbsp;...

Title:Moved by the Past
Author:Eelco Runia
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2014-05-20


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