/ history

the 20th century's terrible secret

like you, i base much of how i view the world through the lense of how i was raised and educated. a part of that education i always loved was history class. i'd often find myself just reading my oversized history textbook while stuck in other, more boring classes. i hated the rote memorization of dates and places but sometimes we'd actually get to do something cool. i remember one year our school got computers (this was the early 90s) so we'd occasionally get to do history class in the computer room and play these edu-tainment games like the oregon trail for vaguely historical reasons.

after a few classes i eventually made my way out of the dos-based "psnet" menu and into windows 3.11 where i found this point-and-click adventure that was about greek gods and mythology. the whole idea of these gods, their powers and the fantastical adventures surrounding them would captivate me for hours. back then i just thought they were just cool and weird but now i think i was actually absorbing the concepts of the primary mythological archetypes, maybe even the seeds of the idea of the hero's journey too.

when i was finally done playing this game there was a message, one of the few things the game would actually read aloud, and it said "those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it," with midi music blasting from the tiny integrated pc speaker. strange how thing's like that have an effect on you. i can't remember what i had for breakfast on tuesday last week (can you?) but i can remember sitting in front of that computer and thinking, "there's something here i need to remember."

anyway, getting back to history: we all essentially agree on the same story of history in my experience. stone age, pyramids, ancient greece to ancient rome, barbarians and the crusades amid the middle ages. yadda, yadda, the renaissance, crown british empire, colonial america, revolution, civil war, the world wars, cold war and now you are essentially in modern times. that's why i so suprised when i listened to this lecture by jordan b. peterson in which he describes one of the most important events of the 20th century.. and i had no idea what he was talking about. not by reference, not in passing, i couldn't even guess what a "gulag archipelago" might mean, which is ironic because some of my ancestors survived the russian revolution (and just barely).

this lecture (and Soljenitsyne's book, which i've begun to listen to) has been absolutely eye opening, this is a part of history that is just as large and bad as world war 2's holocaust perpetrated by the nazis but it is completely suppressed (or ignored) in our educational system for some reason. if you believe in the phrase "those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it," or if you enjoyed a single history class once or even if you just want to hear the famous jordan peterson talk for 2 hours: i implore you get comfortable, maybe get a water and settle in for this great video lecture:

In this lecture, I explore the dreadful socio-political consequences of the individual inauthentic life: the degeneration of society into nihilism or totalitarianism, often of the most murderous sort, employing as an example the work/death camps of the Soviet Union.

map of the gulag archipelago


Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are the psychology of religious and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance. He authored Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief in 1999.

Alexandre Soljenitsyne was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system. He was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature". Solzhenitsyn was afraid to go to Stockholm to receive his award for fear that he would not be allowed to reenter. He was eventually expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994 after the state's dissolution. - The Gulag Archipelago - Audiobook [2, 3]

"life is suffering"

nick giotis

nick giotis

linux sysadmin/devops w/occasional moonlighting into netsec & full stack development 💯✝️🇺🇸🇬🇷🇮🇪🏴

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