Memories and the future

Theodore Zeldin, on Philosophy Bites, June 6th: order to be able to imagine a future, the richer your memories are, the better, and whereas under the influence of Freud etcetera we have been pushed into thinking only about our own memories of a particular time, I am saying you need to be interested in everybody’s memories, and in this way you can imagine a future which is not just science fiction or whatever it is, you can do something which incorporates the whole of human experience, and that is why history is worth studying, because it is what humans have done, and have tried to do, and have failed to do.

Full episode here. I love the idea that the most fundamental motive for studying the past is in order to imagine a better future.