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What is your view on studying the past?





alkady
A while back in my English Class, we had a debate on "What is our view on studying the past", it was an interesting debate since everyone was divided, some said it was a waste of human resources and money that could have been better spent on research and helping the world, others said it help us better understand who we where and how our world was so we can avoid the same mistakes that were made.

I personally think that studying the past does help us alot since it makes understand ourselves more and as interesting as the debate was, I thought I'd bring it to Frihost and see what you guys think.
loryl
Anything interesting and enjoyable is worth studying (it may not be ethically correct to study it, however). I don't feel that we have the right to dictate what someone else can study when studying said subject does not harm us.
Personally, I feel that we can most definitely benefit from studying the past. It allows us to learn from our mistakes so that we don't repeat them. It gives us a model to base our behavior upon (aka: all those extraordinarily hardworking people who did amazing stuff). History also provides our cultural, religious, and social identities.
seanooi
i think studying the past would be a good thing to do. That way we can understand what has been done and what to be done to improve our mistakes. Laughing
Obake
*amused* Whenever a debate like this comes up anywhere, it always seems to shift to a matter of learning from our past mistakes. Is that really the best defence for studying history (or, for that matter, pre-history)? What about learning things that we did right in the past, but somehow have stopped doing?

For me, studying history is the best--in some sense, the only--way of making sense of who we are. I think that goes for most people involved in studying the past, actually. What's the main way people are provoked to think about the past? Why, it's compiling their family histories and writing memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies...things that are very, very fundamentally about working out who we are, and where we have come from, and how we've come to be the way we are (for good or for ill). Academic historians and anthropologists approach it from a larger, cultural perspective; archaeologists and paleontologists approach it on an even broader, evolutionary scale. In the end, it's all about working out who we are in the world.

A neurologist might be able to tell us how our brains work, and a geneticist might be able to tell us that we are predisposed to this or that genetic trait, disease, or whatever. But without also having an understanding of the past, of how our brains developed to become that way, or how our genetic traits have changed over centuries and millennia, we can have no sense of the why of it all, or what to do about it, or even whether to do anything about it. Without also studying the past, we lose a very basic sense of identity.
Vimor
I think studying the past is a good thing but its not really necessary to teach K-12 students about 1000 A.D and back.... we normally just tune it out and could really care less what kingdom killed off another kingdom. We just like to watch the movies with battle scenes that have lots of blood.

Like I said though all for the studying of the past but not the teaching. =)
HDirtwater
There is a saying that goes something like.....those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.

I for one, don't want to repeat a lot of what I know of history... Wink
shwetanshu
we should study past so that we dont repeat the mistakes made in the past...
ThornsOfSorrow
I think it's important to know the world's history, but as human beings, we should not base all of our present decisions on those made in the past. A lot of people have brought up the idea of the past helping us to not repeat certain mistakes, which is a good point, but this idea can also cloud one's vision. For example, if a person is debating over buying a lottery ticket, he should not be kept from doing so because of the fact that he lost the last time he bought a ticket. Maybe he'll win the second time (unlikely, but it gets the point across). I know that's a horrible example (I couldn't think of anything better), but my point is that just because something didn't work the first time, it doesn't mean that it will never work. This is why we should not let the idea of repeating past mistakes overtake us completely.
Obake
ThornsOfSorrow wrote:
[...] but my point is that just because something didn't work the first time, it doesn't mean that it will never work. This is why we should not let the idea of repeating past mistakes overtake us completely.


That's an excellent point, and part of the reason I try to avoid the "correct past mistakes" defence of studying history. Because another part of studying the past is actually recognising where the mistake was made, and that's something that you normally don't get to with your basic school history, unless you've got very good, very dedicated teachers. Sometimes the action itself (buying the lottery ticket, to use your example) isn't where the mistake lies, but in the circumstances surrounding the action, and being aware of that is what might help avert the same mistake in the future.

But regardless of whether we can pick exactly where the mistake lay, or whether there's anything to be done about it the next time around, with a sense of the past we can at least comprehend how and why we came to be several dollars out of pocket and slightly disappointed when the wrong set of numbers flash across the TV screen of a Saturday night. Very Happy
Hunterseaker
Everybody should know their past, their traditions and the history of his country, else you don't belong to a nation. You belong to a nation/race when you know the traditions and the history of your race/nation.
So yes it is very important to study the past, you can learn much of the past to...

wo doesnt know his past, doesnt know his future....
skugge
Hunterseaker wrote:
Everybody should know their past, their traditions and the history of his country, else you don't belong to a nation. You belong to a nation/race when you know the traditions and the history of your race/nation.
So yes it is very important to study the past, you can learn much of the past to...

wo doesnt know his past, doesnt know his future....


Im studying religion a year at the university, and getting familiar with the older freaky religions is both interesting and funny. My favorites so far are the ancient Egyptian religions, mostly because they are really sick!
Obake
skugge wrote:
My favorites so far are the ancient Egyptian religions, mostly because they are really sick!


How do you mean?

I'm honestly curious; I studied the Ancient Egyptians for a while, but it was several years ago now and I might have forgotten some of the interesting bits. Or they might not have pinged my buttons the same way they did yours. I'm exactly the sort of person who, on reading that the Norsemen thought the world was made out of a giant's torn-up body, and that the clouds were his brains, concludes, "Brains-for-clouds. Clouds-for-brains. That's awesome."

Hm. Are there any threads on mythology anywhere?
skygaia
I think it's very simple..
To study the past is very important for us. Because today was made by yesterday.
Vimor
The way you just said that though would be like saying...... Today will make tomorrow but its impossible to study what tomorrow is.... just adding that in.... not saying the past is important just wanted to add that little detail in there =)

I still stand by that people in K-12 really do not need to know about what happened in the Roman Empire in the B.C.'s or early early A.D.'s...

It's not all that important to us..... The last 1,000 years is only really what we want to know about. The only time we pay attention before that is when we start hearing about blood or other chaotic type things. =)

Anyway ya I know I'm just 16 and I think school is a waste at the moment but from what I see in the classrooms only about 1/10 of the class actually pays attention in history..... Even though other classes like only 25% of the people are paying attention history is still boring and dull for the most part for people in K-12...
Vrythramax
I, for one, believe the past to be extremely important and to all human kind...and also the study of it.

Without the knowledge of our forefathers (not a sexist remark ladies), we have nothing. Not of any real value nor importance anyway.

If for instance we just gave up up on the past working of such hailed people as Nickoli Tesla or Madame Cure' (sp?) (*as a side note her own journals are still too radioactive to be handled....what a sacrifice*)...where would we be today?

Its' a simple mathematical thing.... the past equals the future.

Think about it.
Cephalic_Carnage
I think it is important. It's a way for us to understand how we as humans act in certain situations, and how we deal with problems. It is also helpful for when we want to know more about how the world works geographically.
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