HISTORY OF HISTORY: IDEA IS HISTORY
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.
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-_\
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
2 b: still existing: not destroyed or lost
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.