Makin' History

In 1905 in his work The Life of Reason, Harvard Professor George Santayana wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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Caption: All bald, mustachioed and verbose – do the similarities stop there?

Many people have used Santayana”s quote to argue for the importance of studying history, as if NOT forgetting it somehow ensures that the same things WON”T repeat. As a trained social scientist, I have always argued against this notion, citing the fact that many of our leaders and “states(wo)men” have been students of history

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and this does not seem to prevent them from repeating the mistakes of the past. This specious argument also ignores the fact that knowledge – while a necessary component of achieving ends – is insufficient on its own to actually achieve them.

So if we”re condemned to repeat history, I say: “Let”s at least have fun doing it!”

Games based on history give their players an exciting opportunity to simulate the conditions of the past, make their own choices and see whether they achieve different outcomes or repeat the same mistakes – or make entirely new ones! Continue reading