There is a quote that has me thinking. It is a quote that kicks off every episode of the series ‘Pablo Escobar, el patrón del mal’. It translates to: Those who forget their own history are condemned to repeat it. It’s an appropriate quote, since this series is about the life of a Colombian drug lord, his power and impact on Colombia and the world.
“Quien no conoce su historia está condenado a repetirla”
These are the words of George Santayana, a Spanish-American writer and philosopher. He wrote this in his book ‘The life of reason’ (1905). My understanding of it is that we need to remember to not make te same mistakes again, especially when there are no witnesses left.
In the quote, it refers to ‘su historia’. In your life you can count on your experiences, the experiences of your friends, families and others close to you. This is valuable information. You learn from them and you’re able to grow and not make the same mistakes again.
There is a Dutch saying:
“Een ezel stoot zich geen twee keer aan dezelfde steen.”
In English, this would translate idiomatically to:
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
We have experiences from playing in the sandpit, from listening to pop songs, from teachers and directors and our own family, and these experiences are our history. And we can learn from our history. Repeat what’s good, don’t repeat the bad.
As a country, as a group of people, as a world, we also have a history that is our own. However, in light of current affairs, it feels to me that we are repeating the same mistakes over and over again, sometimes even without apologies or help to fix it. Making these mistakes is also quite unacceptable nowadays. Not only do we know our own history, we have a source so powerful we cannot say “I didn’t know”, namely: the internet.
What about you?
Think about it. Have you done something that you’re not proud of? Did you say something hurtful or didn’t you defend someone who needed it? How about your friends? And your country? And yes, I know that you cannot take the entire world on your shoulders, even though a lot of brave people try.
But what you can do, is apply your own knowledge of your own history on the world directly around you, the world you interact with. Keep reminding others to do the same. Repeat the good and keep the bad from repeating.