Philosophy of History
History is usually construed as a narrative. There are some people who say that you conspire against history if you say you are the good guy when history says someone else is the good guy. For example the Trojans presented themselves as the good guys even though history had presented the Greeks as good guys. The Trojans believed that history was yet to be made, which says that there are no good guys or bad guys until the story begins. The Trojans were undoubtedly the good guys as it is rational to think that way: that history is made when people choose to act good or bad, and not because of people’s prior reputation. The Greeks were also the invaders. Yet, how the Trojans acted during the conflict seemed to show they were the bad guys just we had to find the right reasons.
Having established that the Trojans were right about history, what does that mean about western history which lays foundations on the Greeks? The Trojans were systematically discriminated against since they lost probably. Later people got around the problems of history by using religion: God is brought in on a separate narrative to try to restore faith in how the world works regardless of who was the good guy before. Interestingly, Marxian history would have us explain who our close relatives are on which we may depend for economic or other relationships, and people don’t do this anymore but it has applications in China as the Chinese are not largely religious and thus do not form relationships with other people on the basis of a religion usually. Then their close relationships which affect them practically begin to dominate.
Speaking of Chinese though, in the west you learn the history of the west and the nation you are in such as American history. If you learn East Asian history on your own time, it’s not the same emphasis. History thus doesn’t explain where you came from really, in first order it explains where you are going and where that came from. If you know American history, I would say you are a scholar on America, as to be American culturally I think you need to live it as they say. But you would know if you are an American citizen, and if you know American history as an American citizen, I would say you are an educated American. So in a world without history such as what happens for a while after an unjust war for example, labels lose their meaning.
That I am also Chinese, I suppose that means I’ve studied enough East Asian history and I can see where I come from through my people and ancestors. So I am Chinese, Chinese American, American and American Chinese, it’s all the same. History thus gives us the confidence that we know how to live in a nation. If you are something else other than the mainstream in the nation such as a minority, history gives you confidence that you can thrive and also can explain to you where you come from, but in your close circle at present you shouldn’t be using Marxian history which is mostly not used anymore since the fall of communism, but should be first using history of the society outside, as using history of where you come from alone creates a tiny community that just includes your family. Such a community is likely to go on the wrong side of history and such a community is likely to be bent by the forces described by Marxian history.
We would usually not go to the wrong side of history except that to move forward sometimes you need to do something. As an American for example the focus is on economics now and to revive a theoretical understanding of the stock market among everyone. As part of the Chinese continuing narrative, the focus is on differentiating oneself credibly from mainland China. But this being impossible, we can only say that the Chinese continuity narrative served a different purpose: it’s what I use to understand myself not my close circle which is best understood right now by Marxian history. So I have to keep working so that one day China can be understood without the excessive reliance on communism ideas. The Chinese continuous narrative is still a long way in the past, but it is Marxism dialectic which keeps bringing me to the wrong side of history as I try to fight the communism and end up right wing and deviating to the ideological right. In short, figure out the issue first as much as you can before reconciling your views in dialectic. History thus precedes argument as garbage in garbage out. History replaces common sense that has gone wrong. But ultimately, the bottom line is I’m defensibly Chinese now, and the rest of this article was just how I got here.