Perhaps you have found yourself looking back over history and wondering, "Why the hell did they do that? What were they thinking?"
It has become quite common today to find many reasons to question the past. To feel outraged about how people from an earlier time could have had such seemingly stupid, hurtful and outrageous beliefs and behaviors.
Why would we have statues of individuals who actively participated in slavery and supported a way of live that promoted the degradation of others?
Why would we admire the founding fathers some of who had slaves themselves?
Why would we take the time to celebrate explorers from Europe who came to the western lands and enslaved the native peoples?
Why would we support religious leaders or beliefs that in the past robbed from the poor or actively killed others in the name of God?
The list goes on and on. The point is that the past has had many moments and intervals of terrible conditions of suffering at the hands of other human beings.
So let's be clear and realize that we are all flawed, imperfect individuals. That no matter what time period we lived in we will probably be judged by future generations for our mistakes and horrible actions.
Like fish living in water, it is extremely difficult to awaken to our level of conditioning and lack of awareness to what is all to apparent to future generations. That what we allow right now through ignorance will become the rallying cry of the future. As long as we are stuck within our own conditioning, we will repeat such actions.
The past is a great lens through which we can observe ourselves. And you can argue that those that did past injustices also did the best that they could and in certain circumstances that might be acceptable and others not, what is important is to use this awareness of how conditioned minds do both terrible and questionable things.
To focus on ourselves and not just take the easy out of condemning others. What is important is to use the mistakes of the past to change our life now. And that doesn't mean through the easy way out of just blaming or getting mad at others, which in many cases is appropriate but not the real opportunity for self-growth and awareness.
When we see that the movement of the conditioned mind leads to mistakes, problems, issues and abuse then we are free to end that cycle of behavior. We don't gain freedom by getting mad at others, but by seeing their mistakes and our very reaction has triggered our own issues which we can address and attend to.
And from this healthier state of mind and with this new insight you will know how to address the issues of the past and recognize what is important is that we have the opportunity to learn from the past's lessons and not be enslaved by our own conditioning to repeat them.