Let me, first and foremost, put things in perspective for you with one of my favorite quotes:
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – Santayana
Ah, what a marvel of a quote! Powerful in its expression, strong in its impact and profound in its message. The fact that it holds true for individuals and groups of people alike makes it more interesting, and it is the latter that we are focused on here.
Groups of people, countries or nations, grow as a healthy outcome of going through events that deeply affect the people’s psyche. Just like a person would presumably feel a shift in mindset as a consequence of varying experiences, a nation would see itself conquering new levels of development due to a change in perspectives towards its own identity and introduction of clarity in a national vision.
In fact, it is almost an indispensable necessity, in my observation, for a nation to experience such a deeply affecting event that eventually propels it ahead of other nations in terms of all kinds of advancements. It is a beautifully recurring pattern throughout history and to cite a few examples: Japan came back after the nuke attacks and woah, did it come back stronger; Germany transformed after being led to almost complete destruction in World War; Turkey rose after the fall of Ottoman Empire and of course, U.S. had its own civil wars, economic failures and what not to teach its people more than a few lessons.
Philosophical point: What is the best yardstick to determine a nation’s success or what even makes a nation worthy of being blessed with the distinction of being the greatest is, of course, a point of a different argument (and we love exploring arguments at TRP) but it is preserved for a later date.
The key point to be understood here is that each of these nations, among many others, learnt something. They went through these ravaging experiences, they faced the wreckage and emerged well, victorious in the end.
And then there are some who refuse to learn; who refuse to acknowledge the responsibility entrusted upon them, by nature, to pick up the reigns and tame the skittish horse, through these near-fatal experiences; who turn a blind eye to the mistakes exposed by such historic incidents as an opportunity for them to be rectified but, alas, in vain.
To make matters worse, instead of rectification, they are fond of repeating these mistakes that brought them misery in the first place.
Those are the unfortunate nations that even get geographically split up in half but, by virtue of universal law, are “doomed to repeat it”. Unless, of course, they consciously decide to mend their ways.
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