History (from Greek historia, meaning “inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation”) is the study of the human past. It is a field of research, which uses a narrative to examine and analyze the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. This discipline of history can be used as an end in itself and as a way of providing “perspective” on the problems of the present.

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English histoire, historie, from Anglo-French estoire, histoire, from Latin historia, from Greek, inquiry, history, knowing, learned; akin to Greek eidenai to know
1 tale: story
2 a: a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes
2 b: a treatise presenting systematically related natural phenomena
2 c: an established record
3 branch of knowledge that records and explains past events
4 a: events that form the subject matter of a history
4 b: events of the past
4 c: one that is finished or done for
4 d: previous treatment, handling, or experience

Extant Pronunciation: \_ek-st_nt; ek-_stant, _ek-_\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin exstant-, exstans, present participle of exstare to stand out, be in existence, from ex- + stare to stand
1 archaic: standing out or above
2 a: currently or actually existing

Archaeologists to identify and recognize cultural and social customs from ancient historic periods use extant examples.

Scientists use various mechanisms to examine the past, using the geologic record, and the data contained within rock formations to understand forces working at specific times, and geographic regions. Astrophysicists and astronomers use telescopes, spectrometers, and other machines to examine the physical universe. This data allows the scientist to look back through history in order to identify cosmic circumstances, ultimately to know how the universe formed, when things happened, and how the dynamics of celestial mechanics continues in the present, predicting future developments.

Extant artifacts define Art history. These objects and ideas allow us to speculate and re-create a social history of any specific time. It is necessary to clearly understand that art history is an actual history only defined by the continuing presence of the idea. Some cultures maintain an oral tradition carrying significant icons into future generations through the transmission of the word and idea. Many examples exist in the historical record of painting, sculpture, architecture, and print offering a glimpse into what people thought, and in effectively maintaining the idea as a living entity. Ideas are sometimes lost, destroyed, or fail to be cared for. These ideas then depart from the historical record.

Artists engage the historical record through the creation, capture, and maintenance of ideas. Properly maintained ideas live well into the future as ideas flow through dialogue. The persistence of history is the key element to preserving truly human pursuits. How, who, why, and what ideas are maintained determine the course of human history evidenced by the ideas themselves.


Thomas More, remembered for Utopia published in 1516 was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1935. More was a practising lawyer, statesman, Lord Chancellor, and was beheaded in 1535 for treason. Thomas More failed to acknowledge that King Henry VIII was the supreme head of the Church of England.

In Utopia, More describes a society lacking private property, prescribing religious tolerance, and the recognition of order and discipline as necessary elements for the well being of the society.

Thomas More failed to recognize the King as the true spiritual leader of the Church of England, and it is this premise that lead to his demise by beheading. More brought into question the relation between temporal and spiritual power, concepts that are difficult to quantify, even though they persist in contemporary society.

In order to maintain power and authority bureaucracies typically utilize a hierarchical structure. This methodology uses stratification where power is concentrated in specific modules. These modules dictate, or disseminate power as necessary to maintain the organization. Most hierarchical bureaucracies utilize strict controls in order to preserve the power structure, ultimately retaining control and authority of the organization. Some bureaucracies utilize a collegiate hierarchy where individual input is encouraged, allowing individuals a voice in the decision-making and creative process. Altruistic bureaucracies exist, as evidenced in the hierarchical structure of the honeybee. Bees utilize a social structure, sacrificing sexual dominance in favor of a focus on the maintenance of the queen, recognizing the hive as a single organism. Bees function so well within their chosen social organization as to be able to control the temperature of the hive. Rudolf Steiner lectured extensively about the social order of bees in 1925.

The power to dissent can bring with it severe punishment if the dissent is recognized by those in positions of power to threaten the structure of the bureaucratic hierarchy. Thomas More gave his life, and his head in order to maintain his beliefs about the distribution, and distinction between temporal and spiritual power.



OBSERVATION: This URL connects to the Summer 2010 issue of NY Arts Magazine, and the essay written by Abraham Lubelski.