Wednesday, 23 October 2013
'Why look back when you should look forward?'
The slightly more attentive of you may remember a post that I did a while back that, once you dug through the waffle and stupidity, was about Politics, and why I’m a big fan of it in the same way some people are big fans of the X Factor. Now, after having dug through the waffle and stupidity, it should become apparent that this one is about History, and why anyone who doesn't like history is placed, in my mind, with the likes of the Kardashians. People argue that there is no point to History, why know everything there is to know about the past and then know absolutely nothing about the present. ''The past is the past'' they say, ''what good does digging it up do?''. Now if one of these people were not my best friend (try not to be too shocked that I managed to reel somebody in as a friend), i would not even bother to work out their point of view, banishing them to the part of my mind reserved for those who also don't think Harry Potter is any good. But apart from her, my weirdness seems to have scared every one away, and so I tried to understand, I really did...
And I don't get it. I love History an amount that really should be saved for a human being, and maybe that has biased me a little bit, but how can you honestly argue that history doesn’t matter? I don’t like Maths, but I can see that at some point it might be useful to be able to add. History is what makes us us, if any of it hadn’t happened, none of us would really be the same. Because our History is what contributed to the current social climate, and the current social climate contributes to who we are. If good old William the Conqueror hadn’t fancied a trip over to England, what would we be like now? If Chris Columbus hadn’t gone on a little pleasure jaunt and found what he reckoned to be a pretty brilliant country, where would America be now? We've all heard of the butterfly effect; step on one butterfly in the past and dinosaurs don’t die and you end up eating velociraptor for breakfast (or they eat you for breakfast), so why shouldn't it apply to massive events like... I don’t know... that whole Hitler thing? Without any of our background we wouldn’t be who we are.
"Right." The History-Haters say. "I get that, but why should we know about it. Why can’t it just be?" Because A) If we forget it, we'll forget what made us us, and without any background to who we are things never go well, and B) Because as much as I hate to admit it, teachers can be right sometimes. We have to learn from our mistakes. And how can we do that without knowing them? If we didn't learn about the little slip-up with Dunkirk, how would we know not to do it again? In years to come, when people look back, perhaps they'll learn that when the Lib Dems say 'I promise' what they actually mean is 'We'll give it a go, but if it doesn’t happen, oh well'. Not only that, but it’s interesting. Its real life stories about what went on, it’s a glimpse back into a past that made us who we are. I personally have been heard to profess very loudly that 'If anyone told me that History was no longer a school subject, I wouldn’t come in', and I mean it. Not only is it my favourite subject, but it's my favourite hobby.
So just think about this next time somebody tells you history is pointless, you may just surprise them...