History should not be seen as just some random collection of facts and fictions. History must be understood as a story. History is important because if we cannot learn from our past, we are condemned to relive it. We need to learn to look at the BIG picture!
We tend to look back at history and think that they were just like us… they just didn’t have cell phones or cable television. That’s really not the case. About twenty-two or twenty-three people had to work in order for one person to be a knight or noble. Not until the Agricultural Revolution did that change. The Industrial Revolution would have never occurred without the Agricultural Revolution and the Revolution in Hygiene that followed the Black Death. The streets in towns and cities were open sewers. Men pissed in the streets and emptied their chamberpots out of upper story windows into the streets. Peasants pooped in the garden and used night soil for fertilizer that served to spread pathogens. It was a dirty, disgusting dangerous time… and cities could not be sustained because putting too many people in the same vicinity was deadly due to starvation or disease. So… I seriously undersold the darkness. It wasn’t the “bad air” that was stagnant in the heat of Summer at night that was the issue….
Things were not like they are now, and we “educated” modernist have no concept of how different things really were, or how tragic even the best life could hope to be really was. We look at history with our modern biases… and by so-doing… interject our own beliefs… to the point that we really have no business even attempting to evaluate other cultures. Even modern cultures. Because we invariably get the most important aspects of someone else’ culture wrong… because we can only see things from the lens of our own skewed value systems.
In the Medieval world, the king owned not just the country, but everything in it. That included the peasants. The Church established Holy Days… or holidays… as special days when the nobles couldn’t just slaughter their peasants because they had a temper flair. The nobles controlled the forests, so only they got meat on a regular basis.
Everyone went to church every day and took Communion because Salvation was considered to be dependent on the wafer and the wine. If you died without Communion and Extreme Unction, you were likely damned to Hell… and Hell was palpable enough in those times that you could see it breathing down your neck at all times. If your lord did something that got him excommunicated… it affected everyone under him… because he owned them…. Along with all of the horses, cattle, pigs, dogs, sheep, chickens, geese, vegetables, hay….
That’s just the way it was. From the perspective of modern Western values, that is absolutely WRONG!!! From the perspective of other cultures… even today… it really isn’t an issue. Might makes Right. That’s just the way it is.
It’s even ok for us to push our own values on other people and impose our belief over their strong objection because we believe we are right. Because… when it is to our advantage… we are more than willing to accept that Might makes Right….
That is what is happening in America today: Might MAKES Right….