The Whig Interpretation of History


Amanda and Johnathan,

There is a view of history that is especially seductive to affluent college students. The Whig Interpretation of history is that NOW is a wonderful time!  If not the best of all times, then the present day is pretty darned close to it. And all of history is pointed right at today. This is the obvious outcome of all the past. Obviously the hand of Providence has guided us to this point! We are, we think modestly, God’s elect.

Resist this outlook. Not because it dulls you appreciation of the fragility of life, but because it leads to unhappiness.

Life is change. One thing is sure: If you decide that life is ideal, and that divine Providence has led you to this place, time will surely lead you away. And for the rest of your life things will move farther from that point that you unconsciously defined as the acme of history.  If all choices that led to now were desirable and proper, then all the choices from that point out will be, somehow, a false step. Some people spend their lives wondering where things went wrong.

All of history always points to the present. There is only one history. It points to the next present as well.

Embrace change. Or defy it. But today is neither the zenith nor the nadir. Count not on providence. You make your own path.

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