When I think of the (shallow) people who state an interest in history, often they point to those individuals who are significant today, but, during their time, were marginally important, or even unpopular, or nobodies of the day.
While rememberance is a sign of one’s influential legacy, I wonder how often it is recognised, that the recognised of their day are forgotten. Think of famous philosophers who were marginal of their day (Nietzsche, Descartes, Spinoza, Schopenhauer); musicians are almost forgotten, but yet only the best are remembered: Clara Schumann, Nicolo Paganini, Brahm’s Joachim…
It makes us forget, in our idolatry of figures from the past, that they were normal, albeit talented and spectacular beings. Probably with their own tribulations, trials, and inferiority complexes. In short, their times were probably as shit as ours, and, watching the news these days can tell us how shitty our own day can be.