The past is never simply the past. It always has something to say to us; it tells us the paths to take and the paths not to take.
This is second of third part series on why learning from history is cool, if you have not yet read it, please check out the learning from history part 1 here.
Many of us face history during the school or college years and a few like me dreaded memorizing all dates of wars, kings and ruler’s timing as many of us can not related to what has happened in the past with our present life. Without that relations it is often hard to visualize and learn from it.
Often times we are told that we should learn from history to so we will not make those mistakes. While it is true, learning from history or our past have many other benefits and we will explore some here.
- We understand people and society from History
- We can learn how and why society changed to what we live now
- How it is related to our current lives
1. We understand people and society from History
If see in throughout the history since the beginning of early men, we learn how learned different skills and how our early ancestors behaved towards each other and what did they had to learn in order to survive harsh life of that time. We can see from past kings or rulers, how they managed the nations, and what made some culture more ambitious in conquering more lands while other culture were content living on their own.
How and when the technology revolution began and how it benefited the current generation of people. Rome was not built on day is famous saying, same goes for technology and culture advantages that we have made over past century. It is like one drop at the time, we are learning and advancing from past knowledge and past experiences.
Human are complex species and why and how we behave in certain situation has been a great subject for many scientist and people who want to follow personal development to improve upon themselves. Simply saying we are part of society and history for future century to come, there is no escape from it. How we behave and work is important lesson that we must learn from our history.
2. We can learn how and why society changed to what we live now
This reasoning to learn history is closely related to 1st reason very well. Our present is shaped by our past and and our future will be shaped by our present, that is given. This works in individual bases as well large society bases too. Any time we look at the current situation such as election or current ;oil spill happening in gulf of Mexico , we can look at factors that lead up to current situation. Once we can learn what caused it, we may learn to minimize or stop the effect for future. That is one ideal way of looking at the history lesson.
Also another way we can see through history is to see change or lack-thereof for human behaviors. Certain things we have changed and other human behavior remains unchanged no matter how much progress we have made in past few hundred years. For example, alcoholism has been part of human society since ages. Although policies and laws have changed through out the history and depending on places, and rates of alcoholism have risen and fallen in different time, it still remains very much part of our lives, even now. In modern times, red wine is touted to bring health benefits which causes more people to drink to be healthier. Of course, all this is only a perspective but it brings a very good point in social change in our society and we can study and learn from past history on this.
3. How it relates to our current lives.
Well written history can be beautiful. It can bring about nation’s pride, hero and legends for future generations to believe in. Well crafted biographies can bring idles from past alive, without such a knowledge we would not some of best authors from 1800 or much before that. We would not have known Pride and Prejudice and story of Jane Austen and that would have been shame for many Austen fans.
We could actually see through historical fiction and non-fiction stories that how society of that era behaved, what was socially accepted, how people worked, what they ate, and so on brings us more understanding to culture and how it changed slowly to current state. History can be artistic, entertaining, sadistic or even horrific and we as a new society must learn from past event to do better in future. Or at least we ought to.
We as a society have changed a lot, for better. Such as this generation do not smoke cigarettes as much as 20 years ago and we like to believe we are more tolerant of different race and religion now compared to ever before. And that is a good thing that brought to us by lessons learned from history itself.
We can see women were not allowed to vote in past, now we do and are equally treated citizen. Certain things were much frowned upon which is part of normal society such as home schooling , religious and non-religious tolerance. A few people in past have worked hard and suffered for a few causes so that new generation will get to harvest what they planted years ago. We would not have some freedom without such a dedicated people. However, we have lost some freedom in other areas and our generation is in much more financial trouble compared to our parents or specially our grand parents. We have lost some and gained some and that is all part of our past that shapes us today and our future.
Some great Non-Fiction books on History and Learning:
Some great non fiction history books are dry to read and holds little interests to general public, but a few of the following non fiction history books make learning from history fun, sharing with pictures, facts and bloopers made in early times, making it easy and fun read than typical text book.
This book shows 10 events from our history in our life, some are really interesting for me to learn more about, colorful and detailed events from our past.
These are 100 tales of history that did not make it in learning history books such as some roman officials were corrupt, they stole it from themselves, the real reasons pilgrims landed on Plymouth rock because they ran out of beer, and more real but text book unworthy tales to amuse you.
This book is visually great with many pictures and excellent reference book for anyone and any age. There is a lot to grasp in our 4.4 million years of history from origin or human till present time with history’s turning points and its effect.
Fictional History books and Novels
There are many great historical fiction that read like non fiction and real such as King Arthur or The Da Vinci Code novels. I have chosen early writer’s books to share some of diverse fictional books that we can learn history from.
Fascinating story of King Arthur and his round circle of knights, it is a great fictional story, which seems so real for many, it has love, betrayal, adventure, magic filled that we all love and adore. There are many movies and shows are based on story as well.
War and peace by Leo Tolstoy is detailed, complex and gripping story set in early 19th century of Russian life, land owning class folks. The Bolkonsky and Rostov families comprise most of these figures, but their friends and acquaintances take up nearly as much of the focus of Tolstoy’s classic novel. I did not completely appreciated the novel as a younger student but I love the complexity of these human characters much more now.
Pride and Prejudice is not only famous romantic story of Mr. Darcy and Ms. Eliza Bennett, but we also get to know people and society of Jane Austen era in late 1700 to early 1800 period. We get to learn that Money did not go to daughter unless it was entailed, and instead it went to nearest male relative and separation of lower class and rich class society. My second favorite book by Jane Austen.
To check out last fun part of history lessons series, click here Why learning from history is cool: Part 3 where we will look at some fictional and non fictional movies and historical quotes. Fun read indeed.
Your turn: Did you like the article? What are your thoughts on history lessons? I sure would like to know your thoughts and opinions on this subject.