The Duty and Responsibility of a Historian Consisting of That of a Futurist
The first responsibility of a historian – the obligation which comprehends all others, is dependability and justice. The historian must replicate the history itself, making it live once again in his representation. His highest and only goal needs to be, like a witness, to tell the truth, the whole fact, and nothing but the fact, and like a judge, to do complete justice to every person and occasion which comes under his evaluation.
To be therefore faithful and just he needs a threefold qualification – scientific, composition and objectivity.
The historian must master the sources. Then, in making use of the sources, he needs to thoroughly and impartially analyze their geniuses and stability, and the trustworthiness and capability of the witness. Therefore just can he properly different fact from fiction, truth from error.
However, in this contemporary era of details overload, the number of sources for construction of history is often so large and increasing that it is difficult to check out and absorb them all in brief lifetime. And what aggravates the problem, even more, is that some parts of history are dull and wearisome. And so the Historian ought to keep utmost care to condense truths. Sources need to be studied by a cautious selection of the significant points in history, the ones that make up the main body of history.
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Then comes the structure, this is art and needs to not be ignored. The historian must not present facts, however, re-present them. Initially, the historian must digest the realities with intensity then look for a viewpoint on which to represent the truths. History is not a hip of skeletons, however a smart building of facts into a living organism. This will need the mix of brevity and fullness without breaking the truth.
There is no use in writing books unless they are read. But who has time in this busy age to tired through the volumes of raw history data. True, the reader of history ought to not get miniature pictures of history, however complete thorough portraits. Regrettably, most historians represent the past as a dead corpse instead of a living and working power abiding interest.
The historian needs to lay aside all bias and celebration passion, and continue in the pure love of fact. Not that he must end up being a tabular rasa [Latin expression significance “clean slate” that is a mind without misunderstandings or previous concepts] No male or female need to try, to cast off the life influences making us exactly what we are individual. However the historian must in everything be as true as possible to the unbiased fact, “sine ira et studio” [Latin significance “without anger and fondness” or “without hate and zealousness”] do justice to every person and event where the historian sees all points in the circumference.
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The historian needs to aim than to replicate both the unity and the range of history, representing the various topics in their different efficiency, without overlooking their organic wholeness and connection. The composition or re-presentation of realities should not be arbitrarily made, and then pedantically applied. The historian ought to seek perspective in composition.
Even mistake can just be seen from the position of reality “verum est index sui et falsi” [sticking to the reality exposes falsehood]
Above all, and all things being equal, being unbiased does not eliminate that, in making up the truths and putting them into viewpoints the historian needs to be an extensive sympathy with his subject, and enthusiastically be dedicated thereto. Just like no one can interpret a poet without poetic sensation and taste.
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