There is an old saying that history repeats itself. If we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Until I researched for this article, I was unaware that there are people that actually occupy their time trying to figure out whether or not the perception of history repeating itself is true. There is even a website to debate whether or not history repeats itself:
For the sake of this discussion, I am not speaking of some spooky Deja vu, nor of specific events happening again, whether here or in some supposed parallel universe. I am speaking of a pattern of action and reaction that, with some reliability, can be anticipated/expected. For example, in its simplest form, if a parent anywhere in the world leaves a desirable treat out in the open, tells the child not to touch it until dinner, then leaves the child unattended....chances are that child will repeat a well-known pattern (history) of "sneaking" a taste, a bite, or even gorging.
In more complicated cases such as those who try to find similarities in national and world history, it is not the details of the events themselves that are important. Rather it is the somewhat predictable (imperfect) human character. Especially now (post World Trade Center attack) the whole world is on heightened alert that repeats of tactics used by terrorists can occur, indeed, will occur. (In these case, world security forces are indeed analyzing not only human types and personalities, but the details of how attacks are orchestrated and carried out.)
"If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience." This quote is attributed to George Bernard Shaw. Whether intended as tongue-in-cheek humor or a serious note, there is one observation I’d like to make about this: It is not that man is incapable of learning, it is that he arrogantly refuses to learn. One reason that I have observed for this arrogance is that each generation thinks it is smarter than its predecessors.
In particular, as a person who enjoys discussing Bible topics with others, I notice that people discount the Bible as an irrelevant, ancient writings, produced by superstitious people. Yet they will not even give the Bible a chance. They will not look into it to see what life-experiences it contains that can aid them. They both ignorantly and arrogantly reject the idea of getting to know the book because they are modern, they are enlightened with secular education, they have issues that they think just are not covered in the Bible. What they don't know is that God covers sufficient events in the Bible to cover all principles of living that we will ever experience regardless of what generation they occur in. It IS very relevant to our modern day.