"History is a mistake,” claimed a historian when I mentioned Paul and said I thought he was the real Christ. I know how the historian feels in his old age, for nothing is perfect. But I don’t approach the past with the assumption that it is a mistake. As far as time goes, the past is all I can know. I encounter it whether I like it or not, and I do so with a curious attitude. First of all, I want to know what happened. There is always another lesson in history as far as I am concerned.
I am an uneducated man, yet I have made a small number of judgments on right and wrong which have been quite helpful to me. History can be one's sin or salvation. Whatever it may be, I am glad that I've had some: I don't consider it as a mistake at all.
I think history is analogous to a person's memory. Perhaps the older we get the more pessimistic we become about history. Wise men on their death beds have said that there is no lesson to history or moral to the story except that, despite all our efforts, we die, therefore the past is useless in the final analysis, and in the interim too painful to behold for the truth in it, because the past eventually brings one to the conclusion that time is running out.
No doubt my immediate experience is presently passing, but I do not live in the Now. I have heard wise men talk about living in the Now, which is a living death as far as I am concerned – only tomatoes live in the Now. And I have listened to preachers preaching the virtues of ignorance. But do not take my opinion for the last word, for I wouldn't know about the Now and could not remember it if I did. I am uneducated, so the wise men sound like fools or charlatans to me. The knowledge I have is knowledge of past history, and that memory I would not curse nor would I call it a mistake, for it is my human nature. History has been of great advantage to me the few times that I acted with it in mind. I have often deliberately ignored it, and had hell to pay, so how can history be a mistake? I don't think so!