Ever since the time of Boethius in the 6th century it has been customary to speak of the consolations of philosophy, but for my part I find more consolation to be derived from the study of history. When a child is unhappy, his whole horison is bounded by his misery, and the earlier and later times of his own life become dim. As we grow older we become able to remember when we have the toothache that it will not last for ever. The same kind of comfort which we thus derive from our own past experience can be derived in even greater measure from the past history of mankind. The world is in a bad way at present, and those who know no history are inclined to suppose that it has never been in such a state before.
Source: Bertrand Russell : Mortals and Others, v.1, 1975
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