I’m glad you’ve discovered how important an understanding of history can be with regard to comprehending current events. We look back and assume that whatever happened in the past was inevitable but, in fact, it was most often random and individuals played an enormous part in determining the fates of millions.

Furthermore, history shows how the consequences of a seemingly minor event can ripple across the centuries. If Luther hadn’t promulgated his 95 theses and thereby initiated the decline of the power of the Roman Catholic Church in north-western Europe, social conditions would never have allowed The Enlightenment and the subsequent scientific revolution that led ultimately to the industrial revolution which in turn led to everything we have around us today. Where the Catholic and Orthodox churches remained strong, everything remained stagnant. Even today, all these centuries later, Italy scores far lower on all indicators of scientific and economic progress than much smaller northern European nations like Denmark and the Netherlands.

Most people seem to live lives of profound ignorance and indifference, which is likely why Trump and Brexit and Bolsonaro and Duterte et al are all riding the present wave of mindless populism, and why we are therefore about to enter another Dark Ages. It’s unclear whether the next one will last a thousand years, or even if we’ll survive the horrors to come.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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