#1
"History is written by the victors" as the phrase says. However, a series I've been watching lately (the anime D. Gray-Man for those interested) has got me thinking about more impartial recording of history. In this series, there is a character referred to as Bookman, and he and his ancestors have dedicated their lives to the recording of history as it occurs, from an unbiased perspective. While the setting is fantasy (alternate version of the 19th century in which a religious group called Exorcists with God-given power called Innocence are warring with a being called the Millennium Earl who creates demons from human souls with the intention of destroying the world), the Bookmen is a concept that I want to hear opinions on, on whether it could apply to the real world, and whether it is morally right or wrong.

Because the recording of history can't happen without accounts from witnesses of important events (Commanding Officer's reports of battle, for example), Bookman and his apprentice chose to align themselves with the 'good guys', the exorcists, in the anime. Both had the power of Innocence, and the Exorcists were trying to prevent the world's destruction. Bookman repeatedly states that he and his apprentice are not to interfere in history, and could just as easily be with the opposing side if Bookman felt that would put them in a better position for recording history. They never act alone as Exorcists, they always accompany others, and Bookman only uses his abilities if his or his apprentice's lives are in danger. His apprentice, on the other hand, is more supportive of the Exorcists' cause, and seems torn between his loyalty to Bookman and to the Exorcists, and more inclined to help save the world than just record how the others succeed or fail.

My moral question is this: is it right for someone in a position where they can help prevent "evil" (for the purposes of this I'm considering the concept of good or evil as two clearly defined opposites rather than subjective) to act only as an observer and recorder? And is it wrong for someone who chooses to dedicate themselves to impartial recording of history as it unfolds to let themselves be swayed by one cause or another?

Side questions: if this were applied to a real world situation, say someone trained by MI6/the CIA/etc so they can survive dangerous situations, but only assigned to accompany other operatives/military groups to record history, would it be practical? Would our view of, say, World War 1 be different if someone with no allegiance to either side had been present to record events impartially?

Tl;dr - recording important historical events as they occur impartially and without getting involved, right or wrong? And practical or not? If it had been done, how would major historcal events such as wars in which once side was percieved as 'right' and one as 'wrong' be viewed now?

EDIT: I know I reference D. Gray-Man here, but I've not quite finished it, I'm towards the end of the Noah's Ark storyline, so careful with spoilers if you reference the anime
Quote by CV334

Sir, the contents of my mouth just blew all over my keyboard, desk, and part of my monitor. For the record, it was slightly chewed Keebler cookies and coffee slurry.

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Last edited by Crofty89 at Jan 14, 2012,
#2
An historian named Bookman? That's like an icecream man named Cone?!
sometimes I see us in a cymbal splash or in the sound of a car crash
#3
Quote by JohnnyGenzale
An historian named Bookman? That's like an icecream man named Cone?!


Bookman is a title, he never tells anyone his real name.
Quote by CV334

Sir, the contents of my mouth just blew all over my keyboard, desk, and part of my monitor. For the record, it was slightly chewed Keebler cookies and coffee slurry.

The average pitmonkey's response to my jokes.
#6
Quote by Ninja Vampirate
You mean... journalists?



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#7
History ∝ Political disposition ∝ Perspective ∝ Subjectivity ∝ Hegemony
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#8
Ain't no pondering like a UG pondering 'cause a UG pondering is about anime.
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#10
Hmm. When I started reading the thread I thought you had a topic that I'd enjoy, but then you went on a tangent. I almost thought that this thread had everything to do with a high school elective I chose regarding the construction of history, but this (if, in my drunken state I've read it correctly) is about objective observers. I would've said there's no such thing as objective observation under any circumstances but that isn't really what the thread is about.

On topic, I don't think it's morally right to stand back to record scenarios that you could potentially influence. See: that photographer who killed himself after he let that little african child starve to death.

If I've completely misunderstood the thread, I alopogise because I am druink,.
#11
Quote by Ninja Vampirate
You mean... journalists?


I actually did not think of that, feel slightly stupid. Are journalists impartial though? Generally they report for a specific country's newspapers/tv/etc. They are still reporting from the viewpoint of their country. For example a British/American journalist who worked from the front lines in World War 2. Generally they would have reported from the Allied viewpoint of "Nazis are wrong". Could they have just gone and joined the Nazis to get a more complete record? Would they have been able to record impartially, rather than either condemning the Nazis for their atrocities or believing that the Aryan Race should cleanse the world of filthy Jews? Would we see the war differently if journalists had been completely impartial?

Secondly, journalists generally don't have the training or ability to affect the outcome. Their survival in a warzone depends upon the soldiers around them. If journalists were trained for combat and survival in a warzone, would it be wrong for them to get involved in combat and possibly affect the outcome? With combat training they could improve the chances of victory for the side they are with and possibly save lives. Would it be wrong for them not to do so because it could affect the course of history?
Quote by CV334

Sir, the contents of my mouth just blew all over my keyboard, desk, and part of my monitor. For the record, it was slightly chewed Keebler cookies and coffee slurry.

The average pitmonkey's response to my jokes.