Most people question the validity of studying history and some authors, I note, reduced or associate the concept of history as mostly something that is negative; Bonaparte indicated that it is an agreed upon fable; Byron said that it was a devil’s scripture; and Penelope Lively indicated that it consists only of wars. Yet wouldn’t we be the first to say that such comments were thoughtless and unfair reduction of something as complex as history? Perhaps the true essence of history is if we do not look at it as a structure but as a function. Why study history?
I capitalized that history is not merely records of past events but rather a function of the present which can be used to assessed, to compare or to contrast current events and related problems. History dissection, how the past people find ways to the solutions to their problems as correlated to their time or situation is of huge import here. Matsuo Basho wrote, to seek in the footsteps of the old’, and I agree with him, because seeking for wisdom is not merely following but rather on thinking how the old had applied solutions to their problems.
Correlated events, the mishaps, the successes of the past figures that is recorded down in history are veritable source of information. History pre-empts responses for the present day people. History warns us, goads us or guides us into acting to a specific situation. History presents innumerable solutions to the social dilemmas we normally experience and it is up to us to weigh what acts we should pick.
Analysis of available data and ideas, segmenting them into the levels of functionality and applicability for targetshooting critical problems, can be provide for structured usage of history as a tool. Why study history? Because history, whether fabricated or not, is a compendium of ideas and solutions and it is only up to us to use this ‘conveniences’ to its’ complete advantage.
Holt, Thomas C. (1990). Thinking Historically: Narrative, Imagination, and Understanding. New York: College Entrance Examination Board..