Historic recurrence is the repetition of similar events in history. The concept of historic recurrence has variously been applied to the overall history of the world (e.g., to the rises and falls of empires), to repetitive patterns in the history of a given polity, and to any two specific events which bear a striking similarity. Hypothetically, in the extreme, the concept of historic recurrence assumes the form of the Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, which has been written about in various forms since antiquity and was described in the 19th century by Heinrich Heine and Friedrich Nietzsche. Nevertheless, while it is often remarked that "History repeats itself," in cycles of less than cosmological duration this cannot be strictly true. That was appreciated by Mark Twain, who has been quoted as saying that "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." In this interpretation of recurrence, as opposed perhaps to the Nietzschean interpretation, there is no metaphysics. Recurrences take place due to ascertainable circumstances and chains of causality. An example of the mechanism is the ubiquitous phenomenon of multiple independent discovery in science and technology, which has been described by Robert K. Merton and Harriet Zuckerman. G.W. Trompf, in his book The Idea of Historical Recurrence in Western Thought, traces historically recurring patterns of political thought and behavior in the west since antiquity. If history has lessons to impart, they are to be found par excellence in such recurring patterns. Historic recurrences can sometimes induce a sense of "convergence," "resonance" or déjà vu. Three such examples appear under "Striking similarity." Contents [hide]
3 Striking similarity
3.1 Kings kill bishops, create saints
3.2 Islands repel invaders, hurricanes defeat fleets
3.3 Gods return, civilizations fall
5 See also
Prior to Polybius' theory of...
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