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Historians, after all, like sequence. We like causes and effects, clear change over time, and neat narratives that we can mold into compelling stories.

We mostly don't see the job as "complicating" the past but rather to explain it, to make its complications clearer and more conclusive. Put differently, we like answers. The past is a problem and the tools of history allow us to seek explanations as to why. History empowers us to answer these questions.
— Bennett Parten - Crossing the Blood Meridian: Cormac McCarthy and American History (2022)


Most of us are not in any real sense the authors of our lives.

We plan, think, and act, often with apparent freedom, but most of the time, our lives "happen to us". We only retrospectively turn this happenstance into a coherent narrative of fulfilled intentions.
— Mott T. Greene - Alfred Wegener : Science, Exploration, and the Theory of Continental Drift (2015)