>> Sunday, September 6, 2009
I mentioned two of the big ones for education, math and English (or language), both of which are often dismissed as overrated. And, yes, that still blows my mind. Another one that often gets treated with contempt is history.
History is absolutely fascinating to me. It's all about what came before. Problems that were faced with fortitude or caused by callousness. The shortsightedness, the farsightedness. The discoveries, the failures, the whimsical tides of fate that made someone successful or destroyed. It is absolutely mesmerizing for me. Equally interesting are the differences and holes in history as victors slanted the documentation or aspects are explained only with the scantest available information.
But why do we need it?
Because history contains a wealth of information about where we are today, how we came to be. It's so easy for people to get complacent that they built where they are, that they are deserving of all they have going for them, but truth is it's the luck of the draw. What language you speak, what freedoms you enjoy, what education you have available, what resources, what headstart - those are all products of those that came before. And you can't really appreciate those blessings, those boons unless you understand the blood and pain that paid for them. That goes for the pieces that aren't so good, perhaps the repressions or limitations, the hardships and challenges, those are part and parcel of history, too, and--and this is the kicker--learning from history is the best way to make your future better.
Because no one has time in their lives to make all the mistakes we've made in the past. Learning from those mistakes is the best way to move forward. Unfortunately, many places in the world (if not all of them) are notoriously bad at repeating the failures or slipping into the same destructive cycles of the past. People who don't know history have little choice but to repeat it, never understanding what they could do to keep from wandering into mishap or failure.
Knowing, of course, doesn't mean that you automatically preclude repeating it. But you have a chance of moving forward and making all new mistakes if you know where you've been, how you got there and where you're headed.
Is history important? Damn straight.