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UNIT 18: Rethinking the Rise of the West

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PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST

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Transcript of Audio Clip

William McNeill, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

An historian of course, lives through time himself and the world changes in the course of a lifetime as long as mine quite drastically, really very drastically so that your awareness, your sensibility is your expectations, your consciousness will alter if you keep reading and keep listening and keep talking to people across 60 or 80 years very considerably so that the observer has a—has where a platform which is constantly transformed by the very fact that he's alive.

It's a new world but it's the same principle. We are communicating with the people around us, the people around us communicate with the people around them. It's a web that's been there from the very beginning of humankind and it's kept us as one species, it's kept us as one adventure upon earth.

So you're never the same twice. No day you're quite the same person. Your sensibilities and what you can see in the world will alter depending on what you're looking for, and of course history changes as well so you're looking back upon a change where these— the processes were constantly going on. Your sensibilities constantly changed and thus history will always going to have to be rewritten—always.



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