|George Santayana (Samuel Johnson Woolf, Time Magazine)|
Will history ever stop repeating itself? Will people ever learn on both an ontogenic and phylogenic basis. All evidence points to the contrary. Take for example your friend who's always getting jilted by his or her lovers. No matter what's transpired he or she always seems to pick the same unavailable girl or guy and when you try to pick example A, B or C who would have the personality traits that would make for a good companion he or she always says perfectly innocently that they're simply not attracted--without thinking why. No matter how much hurt they’ve experienced, they still don’t get that there's something deeply wrong and that their drives, which inevitably push them in the wrong direction, are where the problem resides. Each new relationship begins with the same excitement. If you're lucky you can even catch the embarrassed grin on their face as they practically admit they're doing the same thing all over again with the hope that perhaps this time the attraction to the same kind of person will bring different results. And so the frightfully similar pattern appears on a grand scale with nation states who enter into pacts full of promise that only end in enmity and war. What's the reason for all the perpetual conflicts? The Bosnian Serb wars of the l990’s are a frightening reminder of this very propensity. Under the rule of a benevolent despot, the varying factions of the former Yugoslavia achieved a prosperity that was singular for a Communist block country of the era. Then with Tito's death all hell broke loose. Populations that had been carrying centuries of historical baggage eventually caused a harmonious society to implode. Horrifying death and destruction ensued with no conceivable goal that could be unearthed. Everyone was a loser except for the war crimes tribunals which ended up doing a brisk business. Now the lid has been put on the hostilities though there's no evidence the simmering antagonisms won't again flare up someday. Like the man or woman who perpetually chooses a louse, there's a profound sickness in many national and international relations, an unattended to death wish, that perennially puts peace and prosperity at risk. George Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." But even those who remember seem to find a reason to travel down the same path.