In the realm of human existence, history and the present are inseparable companions, locked in an indelible embrace that shapes the course of events. This essay delves into the gravity of this profound relationship, where history exerts its influence on the present, molding decisions and guiding societies toward a better future. We embark on a solemn journey to explore how history’s malleability under the hands of power, the weight of historical decisions, and the lessons it imparts shape our collective path. As we traverse the pages of time, we witness the undeniable significance of history’s presence in the present.

History’s Malleability in the Hands of Power

Through the annals of time, history has been a battleground of narratives, susceptible to manipulation by those in power. As George Orwell’s haunting words in “1984” suggest, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Governments, rulers, and dominant ideologies wield history as a potent weapon, rewriting its contours to suit their agendas.

In this murky terrain, historical accounts are often subjected to distortion, as the powerful seek to shape public perception to consolidate their rule and suppress dissent. Totalitarian regimes, in particular, have mastered the art of erasing inconvenient truths from the collective memory, fashioning a version of history that serves their interests.

The Weight of Historical Decisions

The present bears the burden of countless historical decisions made by individuals and societies. Just as personal choices reverberate through one’s life, collective choices echo throughout generations, leaving an indelible mark on the world we inhabit today. George Orwell’s poignant words, “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth,” underscore the gravity of historical decisions.

Monumental events such as wars, revolutions, and social movements have shaped the political, economic, and cultural landscape of nations. The consequences of these historical choices extend to the present, influencing international relations, economic systems, and cultural norms. Moreover, on a personal level, family histories and cultural legacies imbue individuals with identities and perspectives that define their actions in the present.

Learning from History’s Lessons

History serves as a steadfast teacher, offering invaluable lessons from the tapestry of time. The adage “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” reminds us of the importance of learning from historical mistakes. George Orwell’s wisdom strikes a chord, cautioning that “controlling the past influences our perception of the present, which, in turn, affects the choices we make for the future.”

The echoes of human triumphs and tragedies resound across generations, urging us to avoid the pitfalls of cruelty and ignorance. The horrors of genocides, political purges, and environmental catastrophes stand as somber reminders of humanity’s capacity for darkness. By embracing history’s teachings, societies can strive for progress, peace, and justice, steering away from the abyss of repetition.


As we conclude our solemn exploration, the inseparability of history and the present looms large, casting a shadow over our collective consciousness. History’s malleability in the hands of power, the weight of historical decisions, and the lessons it imparts shape the trajectory of human existence. Let us tread this path with utmost gravity and reverence, acknowledging the critical role history plays in shaping the present. For it is through understanding our past that we can forge a future that transcends the mistakes of yesteryears, laying the foundation for a more enlightened and compassionate world.

Keonyi Kim

NLCS Hub Chief Director


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