The Great Man Theory of History

I was thrown off the history CSE at school for not showing sufficient interest. If I take a Stoic view of myself, the history teacher was right, I had no interest in the Great Man theory of history.

The Great Man theory of history is a 19th-century idea according to which history can be largely explained by the impact of “great men”, or heroes: highly influential individuals who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or political skill utilized their power in a way that had a decisive historical impact.

To me, this was not how the past was, or how the world around me worked; a liner progression of dates in time and a requirement to remember them was not how I saw the world. Ok, as an individual with a learning disability I apparently do see the world slightly differently from the norm, or so I am told…. or so some would like me to believe….who is norm anyway….

To me, I was just not interested in remembering a sequence of dates and a liner past, it is not logical. Some say that if you are interested, you will make it happen, and if not, you will make an excuse. A contrived past is my excuse because out there when you look, and look again there is this vast visual, three dimensional past that tells remarkable stories of people just like you and I, you just have to look for it, and immerse yourself in it.

This past tells us of their lives, their loves and their values, and all that things that go to make us human. Everyday people do remarkable things, you only have to take the time to look. I look, I look a lot. I love seeing people at work; their skills, their pride, their sense of identity. Seeing people doing their work changes my emotional state so much, It sometimes fills me with so much joy and interest, that I feel like I’m going to bust like a balloon.

So to hell with the great man theory, go and watch some everyday people at work…..

Barry Cant Arf Weld from shaun bloodworth on Vimeo.

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This entry was posted in local history, Nostalgia, public history and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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