To assist modern men to live better lives, we at the Art of Manliness make no secret of the fact that we draw inspiration from the past. We pay particular attention to advice from my grandfather’s generation, as thinking about his life was one of the inspirations for establishing the website in the first place.
To keep doing what they are doing or should be doing, men need inspiration. They aren’t always inspired, though. Click here now to help regain lost confidence and motivation.
It seems like every time we publish an article that draws lessons from the lives of great men or the so-called “Greatest Generation,” we receive comments along the lines of the following.
ABrief Overview of the History of the World
When you think about history, you might recall a tedious history class in high school or college in which you were had to memorise a slew of dates, people, and historical wars. As a result, you may believe that history is a straightforward subject—a subject where you simply need to know the facts, ma’am.
The truth is, history is simply a story told by different people at different times. Who is telling the story and how they are presenting it makes all the difference in the world.
As a result, the story that is passed down from generation to generation, as well as our feelings about it, are always shifting. History is a very fluid concept that can and does get changed and reshaped regularly, if not constantly.
Many centuries have gone by since history was regarded as a subject that was important to learn, and its significance was drawn from the fact that it could be utilised to teach young people significant lessons about who they were and how to live their lives. The objective of history, according to the ancient Greeks, was to teach virtue. According to Plutarch, the eminent Greek historian, he wrote the Lives of Famous Greeks and Romans with the express purpose of imparting moral teaching to his readers.
This iew of history as a source of moral education persisted in the Western world until the nineteenth century. Take a look at books written for young people in the 1800s; they’re jam-packed with examples from the lives of great individuals on how to do great actions, achieve prosperity, and be respectable citizens. Some historical characters were depicted as heroes, men to aspire to be like, while others were depicted as villains, whose lives served as examples of mistakes that students should avoid making in the future.
This was also a period marked by a high level of awe and regard for the country’s leaders. Take, for example, the eulogies made after George Washington’s death, which are available online. These eulogies are incredibly flowery and over-the-top, portraying him as a saint with unquestionably spotless moral character.
As a result of the disillusionment that occurred following World War I, historians in the 1920s began to view history and the individuals and events that dominated it with an entirely different, much more pessimistic perspective. During this period, writer William Woodward coined the term “debunk” (a play on the practice of “delousing” soldiers during World War I), and he chose George Washington as the subject of his de-bunkification. Rather than portraying President George H.W. Bush as a heroic figure, Woodward depicted him as a bumbling idiot who was obsessed with celebrity and money.
Women, minorities, and other groups who had been all but ignored for ages were given greater prominence in the 1960s, as new historians tried to tell their experiences and tell the stories of those who had been all but ignored for centuries. During the process of uncovering their previously untold stories, some historians also took another look at the way traditional history had been portrayed, examining the standard narratives from a new perspective and arguing that what was once seen as good and heroic, was not so noble after all. The most well-known example of this approach to history is Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, which is written by Howard Zinn.
A very interesting essay about how the modern Boy Scout handbook has changed since it was first published in 1911 is an excellent instance of the transformation in our perception and use of history.
“X well-known person wasn’t all that terrific. …[fill in the blank with the alleged fatal defect] was an alcoholic, an adulterer, a slave owner, etc.”
According to our cynical age, being inspired by the men of the past, as well as having heroes or ideals of any kind, has fallen out of favour, along with having any form of heroes or ideals.
However, this was not always the case. And now, we’d want to make the case for finding inspiration in the works of those who have gone before us.
e indset of the Elderl
It’s common for children to see the world in black and white when they’re young. Heroes are exceptional individuals. People that do bad things are rotten to the core.
After reaching a certain age, you begin to perceive things in different shades of grey. You come to realise that humans are far more complicated and sophisticated than you previously realised. The downside of having a maturing perspective is that it makes it more difficult to be enthusiastic about things and to have heroes when you realise they aren’t perfect. However, having a maturing viewpoint is crucial to learning, growing, progressing, and being effective in the world
Men who are unable to be inspired by history are trapped in a world that is black and white as if they were children. A prominent individual may possess a plethora of admirable characteristics, but if he also has a significant defect, there is little to be gained from studying him. The baby is being thrown out with the bathwater
A guy may be showered with innumerable opportunities, but he may choose to squander every one of them. While circumstances can be beneficial, it is ultimately our responsibility and agency that determines our fate
And it is for this reason that a man should study history and allow himself to be inspired by it! It has the potential to teach him how to turn his possibilities into success and character development opportunities.
Our age tends to assume that everyone is unique and that no one is superior to anyone else in any way. It is claimed that “every generation is the same.” However, while it is true that every generation has its own set of strengths and shortcomings, each generation’s set of strengths and flaws is distinct from the others. And, if we are humble, we may improve on our flaws by drawing on the strengths of the men who have gone before us, just as we hope that our grandchildren will draw on the things that we are doing correctly.