Nathan Algren: What does it say?
Katsumoto: I belong to the warrior in whom the old ways have joined the new.
--The Last Samurai
Some people discount lessons learned in the past as old and out of date. Rather than being an extrapolation of past knowledge and innovation, progress, to these people, begins here and now.
One problem with this position is that it ignores that man has been mining for truth for thousands of years. People from previous generations have unearthed important nuggets that we can learn from. If we do not learn from them, then we must, as it is appropriately said, reinvent the wheel. Why should 'progress' involve having to relearn truths that our ancestors toiled to reveal?
In fact, productivity and the very progress that many of these people seek is bound to suffer as we waste time and other resources REgressing backward to previously trodden paths on the road to truth.
While it is certainly possible to get needlessly hung up in past actions and events, failing to apply truths discovered by our predecessors is wasteful. Considering the capacity of humans to learn by observing others, disrespect for the past amounts to consummate ignorance.