Doomed to Repeat It

How much of history is made up of individual decisions and their effects, and how much is made up of an endless cycle of what is inevitable given human nature?

A molecule of water is nothing like an ocean. Yet, the latter is made of the former, and given enough knowledge about the starting conditions, the movement of the ocean is predictable within certain error bars. We know when the tides will come in and out.

That doesn’t let us stop them.

I don’t think the lessons of history can help prevent repeated mistakes. I think that the lessons of history serve a different and vital purpose: they let a small few know when to sail and when not to. You can’t change the tides with all the predictive power in the world, but you can avoid them.

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