„We learn from history that we don't learn from history!“

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„Nothing fails like success because we don't learn from it. We learn only from failure.“

—  Kenneth E. Boulding British-American economist 1910 - 1993
Context: Perhaps the most difficult ethical problem of the scientific community arises not so much from conflict with other subcultures as from its own success. Nothing fails like success because we don't learn from it. We learn only from failure. Kenneth Boulding (1971) "The diminishing returns of science" in: New Scientist. (March 25, 1971) Vol. 49, nr. 744. p. 682

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Aldous Huxley photo

„That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.“

—  Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays
" A Case of Voluntary Ignorance http://www.christiebooks.com/ChristieBooksWP/2013/11/a-case-of-voluntary-ignorance-by-aldous-huxley/" in Collected Essays (1959)

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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel photo

„What experience and history teach is this — that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.“

—  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel German philosopher 1770 - 1831
Introduction, as translated by H. B. Nisbet (1975) Variant translation: What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Pragmatical (didactic) reflections, though in their nature decidedly abstract, are truly and indefeasibly of the Present, and quicken the annals of the dead Past with the life of to-day. Whether, indeed, such reflections are truly interesting and enlivening, depends on the writer's own spirit. Moral reflections must here be specially noticed, the moral teaching expected from history; which latter has not unfrequently been treated with a direct view to the former. It may be allowed that examples of virtue elevate the soul, and are applicable in the moral instruction of children for impressing excellence upon their minds. But the destinies of peoples and states, their interests, relations, and the complicated tissue of their affairs, present quite another field. Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history. But what experience and history teach is this, that peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone. Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help. It is useless to revert to similar circumstances in the Past. The pallid shades of memory struggle in vain with the life and freedom of the Present. Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. 6 John Sibree translation (1857), 1914

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„We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.“

—  John Dewey American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer 1859 - 1952

Arthur C. Clarke photo

„If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run — and often in the short one — the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke British science fiction writer, science writer, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host 1917 - 2008
The Exploration of Space (1951), p. 111

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George Bernard Shaw photo
Henri-Frédéric Amiel photo
Leszek Kolakowski photo

„We learn history not in order to know how to behave or how to succeed, but to know who we are.“

—  Leszek Kolakowski Philosopher, historian of ideas 1927 - 2009
"The Idolatry of Politics", U.S. Jefferson Lecture speech (1986)