History and Memory Essay example

4335 Words 18 Pages
History and Memory

‘Is there such a thing as “history” which is more objective than memory?’

For many years now there has been a strong debate, as regarding wether or not there is such a thing as ‘history’ that is more objective than memory. Due to memories completely subjective nature, history although also being somewhat subjective, it is a great deal more objective than memory. To discuss such a statement first one must define the terms ‘history’, ‘objective’ and ‘memory’. The Macquarie Dictionary defines the term ‘memory’ as:“ the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving impressions, or of recalling or recognising previous experiences. A mental impression retained; a recollection.” For the purpose of this
…show more content…
David Irving’s web site includes a document entitled ‘Did Six Million Really Die?’ This document illustrates how histories foundation on evidence constrains it partially to subjectivity. The Sydney Jewish Museum illustrates how historians know the past to be; not the past as it was in itself but the past as it appears from its traces in the present. Despite such subjective characteristics, history is more objective than memory. The fact that a historian’s view of history can never be completely objective does not mean that descriptions of the world cannot tell anything objective about it. The Fiftieth Gate demonstrates how to some extent the nature of archive documents cause them to reasonably reliable and objective and when the past is well supported by abundant evidence it is reasonable to say that the history being presented is objective. The Sydney Jewish Museum in addition illustrates how history unlike memory has a systematic organised structure, which inevitably adds to its’ objective nature. As a result of memories complete subjectivity, history although also being somewhat subjective; it is a great deal more objective than memory.

Memory unlike history is completely subjective. Memory is composed of personal feelings or prejudice and bias. Memory privileges the private and the emotional. Against histories officialism and rationalism, memory reveals the hidden pasts, the lived and the local, the…