segunda-feira, 17 de junho de 2013

The Decline of Historical Consciousness: Eric Hobsbawm's Personal Account with the Century of Catastrophes: The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914- 1991

 "A Klee drawing named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

— Walter Benjamin, Ninth Thesis on the Philosophy of History

"The destruction of the past, or rather of the social mechanisms that link one's contemporary experience to that of earlier generations, is one of the most characteristic and eerie phenomena of the late 20th century. Most young men and women at the century's end grow up in a sort of permanent present lacking any organic relation to the public past of the times they live in. This makes historians, whose business it is to remember what others forget, more essential at the end of the second millenium than ever before one who has been asked by an intelligent American student whether the phrase "Second World War" meant that there had been a "First World War" is unaware that knowledge of even the basic facts of the century cannot be taken for granted."

- Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914- 1991 (1994)

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