Protohistory The history of the world is the memory of the past experience of Homo sapiens sapiens around the world, as that experience has been preserved, largely in written records.
In centuries past this statement would have seemed self-evident. Ancient cultures devoted much time and effort to teaching their children family history. It was thought that the past helps a child understand who he is. Modern society, however, has turned its back on the past. We live in a time of rapid change, a time of progress.
We prefer to define ourselves in terms of where we are going, not where we come from. Our ancestors hold no importance for us. They lived in times so different from our own that they are incapable of shedding light on our experience.
Man is so much smarter now than he was even ten years ago that anything from the past is outdated and irrelevant to us. Therefore the past, even the relatively recent past, is, in the minds of most of us, enshrouded by mists and only very vaguely perceived.
Our ignorance of the past is not the result of a lack of information, but of indifference. We do not believe that history matters. But history does matter. It has been said that he who controls the past controls the future. Our view of history shapes the way we view the present, and therefore it dictates what answers we offer for existing problems.
Let me offer a few examples to indicate how this might be true. Usually I have to sort through conflicting testimony to get to the truth of the matter.
Part of my information is my knowledge of human beings in general; part of my information is the knowledge I have assembled over the lifetimes of these particular children.
All of this is essentially history. It is knowledge about the past. I must have a good understanding of the past in order to know how to deal wisely with these children in the present.
Any punishment or chastisement will depend on my reconstruction of what actually happened. The children realize this, and thus they present very selective histories of the event in an attempt to dictate my response. In these kinds of situations, children very clearly understand that history matters.
Some of these forms are very detailed, asking questions that require information from rarely accessed memory banks. Why does a doctor ask these questions? The doctor is trying to construct an accurate picture of your state of health. Your health is heavily influenced by the past.
Your heredity, past behaviors, past experiences are all important determinants and clues to your present condition. Whenever you return to the doctor, he or she pulls out a file which contains all the notes from past visits. This file is a history of your health. Doctors understand very clearly that the past matters.
Some of you might be thinking that these examples are not very compelling because they both deal with the very recent past—they are not what we think of when we think of history.
Let me give one final example that is more to the point. In the Communists took control of Russia. They began to exercise control over how the history of their country ought to be told.
They depicted the tsar as oppressive and cruel. The leaders of the revolution, on the other hand, were portrayed in a very positive light. The Communist government insisted that these leaders, and in particular Lenin, understood more clearly than any one else what Russia needed and what course of action the government ought to follow.
According to the official history, Lenin made no mistakes and he passed his virtually infallible understanding on to the other leaders of the party.
The official history presented Lenin and Stalin as kind, compassionate, wise, nearly divine leaders. Consequently, difficulties that people in the Soviet Union experienced were all attributable to capitalism.
This is the perspective of history that was taught to Soviet children for half a century. This work was the product of years of historical research by the author. He interviewed scores of prisoners and did extensive research to chronicle the genesis and development of the chain of labor camps that dotted the Soviet Union.Tosh, The Pursuit of History: Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of Modern History (many edns., London, –).
Penelope J. Corfield is professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London. Jan 18, · The study of history is important because it helps us understand people and r-bridal.comy offers data on information of how people and societies lived and behaved in the r-bridal.comy helps.
History is very important because it takes us back into the times of kings, princesses, horses, warriors, geniuses, wars, inventions and discoveries.
Here we have listed top 10 reasons to study. Though the study of history and in learning about the past, people are better able to understand how the present came to be. For instance, in order to understand how the United States became a country, as well as the foundations on which it was built, one must learn the history of America's founding fathers, and the world that shaped their .
The Importance of History - What is history. Should we study history. Who creates history. Is history relevant. The definition of history, is a question which has sparked international debate for centuries between the writers, readers, and the makers of history.
Aug 23, · The study of history is important because it can tell us how we evolved. It can tell us what decisons worked in particular situations in the past and what didn't.
This can be useful when taking decisions today in similar situations.