Mark Pellegrino on the source of real knowledge

By Mark Pellegrino

Real knowledge comes from comparing and contrasting. If you only know one side of the issue, because it appeals to your prejudices, you can’t be said to have real knowledge.

And when analyzing historical events, it’s easy to look at them through the prism of our own preconceptions, moral conclusions, and the potentially wider perspective of modernity. It may be easy, but it’s wrong. You may feel righteous, but you lack adequate charity and wisdom respecting the way human beings learn and grow.

The result of this myopia is a self-righteous disdain for what came before and a lack of compassion for the long and groping nature of the pursuit of truth. What does that lead to? Zealous Contempt towards your fellow man as you judge historical figures (whose context was not so deep as yours) by standards impossible to them and an application of the same Utopianism to present-day people.

The very fact that we can disagree on the causes and effects of historical events should demonstrate to anyone that the truth is hard to come by, and you may not own it at all.

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