“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
“If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“What experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”
G. W. F. Hegel
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
“History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time.”
Taken from ageofthesage.org
The history of Easter Island is fascinating because it shows a civilisation slowly destroying its future in order to glorify the present. The people cut down their trees (which we now know were essential for their very survival) in order to carry stone for their famour statues, and must have continued to do this down to the last tree.
It would have make a nice moral story if the people had died off completely because they destroyed their key resource, but History is rarely this simple.
Nevertheless the moral still holds.
Watch The Mystery of Easter Island on youtube
The disappearance of the island’s trees seems to coincide with a decline of its civilization around the 17th and 18th century. Midden contents show a sudden drop in quantities of fish and bird bones as the islanders lost the means to construct fishing vessels and the birds lost their nesting sites. Soil erosion due to lack of trees is apparent in some places. Sediment samples document that up to half of the native plants had become extinct and that the vegetation of the island was drastically altered. Chickens and rats became leading items of diet and there are contested hints that cannibalism occurred, based on human remains associated with cooking sites, especially in caves.