Why Do We Study History?
The reasons for studying history vary from personal ones, to some that affect an entire society or group of people. As conscious beings, there always has been a need to study and learn why and how the world has evolved to its current point today. As an individual, one often hears, “learn from your mistakes.” The past teaches about mistakes, so one may learn from them. By learning the bigger lessons, not the tiny details, one can discover why they are who they are now. Finally, by studying the chain of events and actions that transpired, one can understand the present and what may occur in the future. Students study history so that they do not repeat the mistakes of the past, find out who and what the race is, and understand the present and future. “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”, said George Santaya, a famous philosopher and writer. By learning of the malicious deeds performed in the past, and especially how they came to be, society is able to prevent further acts of the kind from transpiring. Humans should learn from previous mistakes, and prevent them from happening.
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The Holocaust, World War II, The Reign of Mao ZeDong in China, and other terrible mistakes were to be recorded, as to prevent future transgressions and mistakes. As the events are studied, they were then to be prevented from happening again. The study of history is not about learning facts and dates, but learning about oneself. As one begins the study of how they came to be, they understand about the conflict, agreements, and advancements that shaped themselves. By learning about the lives of earlier ancestors, one gets a glimpse of the lifestyle and what the people before them had to do. This allows a deeper understanding and appreciation of themselves and the world around them. When one understands the lessons, they allow themselves a new view into who they are. History is on an endless cycle. An event never happens twice the same way, but simply in a different manifestation. As one studies the patterns associated with the rising, falling, and conflict of people and the respective groups, a understanding emerges of the tendencies of the human race.
This allows a better knowledge of how the mind operates. This wisdom improves the conception of the present and the future. This ability to distinguish patterns in the events that happen is another reason history is studied. History is studied for these three primary reasons. The mistakes made by human history mustn’t be allowed to repeat themselves, as it would result in more loss and horror. As one delves deeper into the folds of the past, they not only learn more about others, but learn more about themselves in the process. Patterns and tendencies soon become clear as one’s understanding grows, and knowledge of the why’s of the mind and race are answered. The study of history yields understanding of one’s self, understanding and contemplation of the actions of a group, and understanding of the present and future.