Wednesday 30 November 2016

What Really Happened?

When we are considering History how should we regard it? Cue many thousands of words citing learned historians, philosophers, theologians, scientists and others down the ages. Their aim will have been to make it explicable, perhaps logical and often related to some form of coherent human activity.

On the other hand, some have suggested the conspiracy and cock-up basis for much of it. But I would enlarge this by the BEAMS approach. B is for botch, bungle; E is for error; A is for accident; M is for mistakes and misunderstandings; and S for stupidity.

Cock-ups and conspiracies are intertwined, the one breeds the other. But they both have elements of BEAMS at their heart. This is not a "what if" approach, that is another matter. It is about taking a good hard look something and the detail to find just what really happened.

Again, I have pointed to the difference between what we do know and what we don't. We do have written records, up to a point. They may not be reliable or truthful.   But there are many written records lost. We do have calendars that are a help.

What we do not know because they are unrecorded are the conversations, discussions and rest between this person and that. We will have many reports of these at second or third hand but the further you get from time and place and original the more doubt there is.

One factor in history are the relevant records, where they are, how they might be accessed and how easy or difficult they are to read. For me the newly digitised records that are indexed of so many sources means that all that time and expense of travel etc. can be avoided for many records.

Also, gone are all those scribbled notes in boxes or files that are piled up that are easy to forget or rather later find. Also gone is the heaving, getting and ploughing through hefty volumes with a good chance of missing or not registering significant detail.

Rewriting the course of history or changing history has become so much easier. There could soon be a lot of it about. The great house of history might well be found to have a lot more "beams" than expected.


  1. Good point. Scholarship could advance dramatically if this new nexus is used wisely.

  2. "History is but a lie agreed upon."
    Napoleon Bonaparte.

  3. Imagine future scholars relying upon the Daily Mail...

  4. "Rewriting the course of history or changing history has become so much easier."

    Yes - imagine all those quiet conversations nobody ever recorded. Now they can be invented once those involved are dead. Perhaps before.