Historical Illusionism

I’ve been on about the fabrication of history by our intellectual elite and started to realise, after reading the first two volumes of Charles Ginenthal’s Pillars of the Past series (there are four volumes here) that perhaps fabrication is too strong a term. Mind you, Australian author Keith Windschuttle called his trilogy’s first volume “The Fabrication of Aboriginal History” and I decided to follow that sense of meaning. However I now find that it’s more accurate to name it as “Historical Illusionism” in the sense that Plato used in his example of the cave and shadows.

I conclude this because of the overiding impression that the various, so-called, mainstream historicans, or historical illusionists, are steadfastly sincere in their historicism but seem generally unaware of the authoritarian characteristics of their methodology that relies on documentation as the primary source of historical data.

The problem is that official history is always written by the victors, and while it is obvious, in hindsight, that such histories are designed to make the governing incumbents look good, one neverthe less also gets the impression that they actually ‘believe’ their versions of history is correct. Whether this should be called a falsification of history rather than a fabrication of history remains moot since the former is the wilful rewriting of history to suit political purposes and often one is not entirely sure that history is purposefully being falsified; after all religious devotion is a most powerful force.

The simplest explanation I can think of is the profession of mineral exploration where from the data a theory or model is developed that has to be tested, usually by the drilling of a hole into the ground, or excavating some ground to reveal the ‘hidden’ truth.

If the test is negative, that is the target is not caused by a modelled anticipation of some mineral, then the scientific mind concludes that the theory is wrong.

The religious mind or thinker however, questions the data produced by the drilling, rather than the model that the drilled data are meant to confirm. In this approach the religious thinker assumes that the model is correct irrespective of what the test results show, and concludes, erroneously, that there is a fault with the data.

This difference is essentially all about how one thinks when stimulated by some or other phenomenon to which a reaction is required. The scientific mind reacts on the basis of the here and now, and does so in context. THe religious mind however is faced with the choice of rejecting the data if it contravenes the model, or accepts it if it doesn’t. The religious mind is thus best described as robotic in operation, machine or computer thinking, while the scientific mind is anarchic.

This means that most who are described as scientists are not, but highly skilled technicians or emgineers who apply knowledge in a practical sense. So when discordant data has to be confronted, the traditional historian will explain discordance on an ad hoc basis to make it fit the existing history while the scidentific historian will realise that it’s the understanding of the history that is the problem, and which the discordant data highlights.

In this sense the historical revisions proposed by Ginenthal and Heinsohn et al are thus more accurate than the illusory one maintained by the traditional mainstream historians. The historical illusions being the result of having religious/authoritarian minds applying their thinking processes to data.

As the British economist J.M. Keynes is reported to have said, if the facts change, he changes his mind; what do you do? The religious mind will never change its mind and when it does, then its usually the result of being confronted by a miracle; and any science conceived by such a thought process will also be miraculous.

Update: As if on cue, a Facebook comment on

the fact that millions of school children require medication on a daily basis so they can more easily assimilate into the culture of public schooling does not mean these children are damaged. It means something is very wrong with the idea of schooling

The religious mind in operation – the schooling policy has to be perfect and it’s the children who are the problem.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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