The importance of the past to our existence

I just read “In search of the Trojan war” by Michael Wood (2nd edition, 2005). The epigraph is:

It is irrelevant how many centuries may separate us from a bygone age. What matters is the importance of the past to our intellectual and spiritual existence.

– Ernst Curtius, speech in memory of Heinrich Schliemann, Berlin, 1 March 1891. (Schliemann was the discoverer and first digger of Troy.)

My son-in-law told me yesterday that the country with the most castles for its size is Wales. Does that tell us something in these times? I think so. At the end of this afternoon we walked through an abbey and around some ponds (the Etangs d’Ixelles). Does it make a difference to know that once, the abbey’s fishponds lay here? Of course it does.

public birds Etangs d'Ixelles 116.JPG

I studied history as my main subject at school, but decided to do economics at university because history was of no practical use. I had 18 months off between school and university during which I decided that economics was also of no practical use, so I reverted to history because it was more interesting. Since then I’ve changed my mind about both subjects.

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Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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