What is history and why is it important that we study it?

History is the recorded method of tracking events that happened in the past whether the recording be through story, myth, word-of-mouth, music, song, writing/literature, or merely through leaving behind ones bones and body parts for others to find a later date. History is, overall, any form of left behind record that can be used to piece together past events at a period of time somewhere in the future, and it is necessary to study history because one needs to learn about the future mistakes one might make, through those that were made by current people and by ones predecessors in the past, in order to avoid making similar mistakes and rediscovering what good things came of other choices.

For hundreds of years historians have pieced together the past through simple objects like bones, weapons, preserved corpses, and very primitive tools. These objects are better associated with very ancient civilizations or humans such as the Homo Erectus and similarly dated civilizations. More recent peoples can be studied through means such as semi-recorded writings, or even fully recorded methods- books, movies, picture stories (however these are more left to individual interpretation) and other similar writings. There are also many different types of “un-recorded” or…it is unclear how one would classify certain literatures, so an example would seem much more appropriate; texts such as the “first” version of the bible, and the books of the apostles are examples of this type of “un-recorded” histories; records which have no obvious authors that are still living or who can be truly traced back to their date. Such authors like these recorded events in unique styles that can be followed and, for the most part can be verified, but do not have any traceable authors, or whose authors may have been many people working in collaboration with a common goal to which they were so devoted that they were willing to give up their individual identities for a common cause. These texts are almost never completely accurate, because of the fact that they have been rewritten so many times that the originality of the first text has been lost in the new interpretations. Despite backsets like these, however, one will find that history continues to provide insight into the past and will provide such into the future. Note to the Reader: I meant no offense to those who believe in the Bible- this is merely an examination of history, and not a religious discussion.

History has been and will continue to be an invaluable way of conveying ones culture to ones descendants. People constantly, whether consciously or otherwise, record their actions- they write in journals, write poetry, draw pictures, write or play music, or simply talk to one another. These are just a few examples of how people record history, and every one of those methods is invaluable. Ones descendants may find knowledge in them, may find out how to deal with problems, may find about their own genealogical histories, or simply find reassurance in the fact that someone else has gone through a trial much like their own. Many, many times people have found comfort in the knowledge that their parents have gone through similar trials, and have found strength in the knowledge that those elders have overcome them. Whether or not one believes it, there is comfort to be found in the suffering of those before, because they see that they are not alone in the emotions and feelings that they experience, whether good or bad. I know that I am reassured when I stumble upon an old journal from my father and see that he went through many of the same trials that I am and have gone through. Whether or not people believe it, there is comfort in the suffering of those before you because you see that you are not alone in what you feel, and you see help in dealing with the things you will have to experience. One may also discover possible paths that they might have taken, which can now be avoided.

One might look at the past and think to him or herself that they would never make similar mistakes such as those that were made in the past, because of the fact that one simply wouldn’t have the opportunity, but in truth a person is probably just as likely to do so if they have an opportunity which is similar, but not quite the same, and that person doesn’t quite realize it. In truth those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, and those who cannot forget history are condemned to relive it. History needs to be read and valued for what the situation may represent in the future, as well as in the past. If one cannot see history for what it is; a record to guide them both for choices they might make, as well as for choices that were already made, then one will have no value for it. History must be studied if for no other reason than for understanding.

History is the way that people have passed on knowledge, and wisdom- yes they are two different things- as well as simply a recorded method of tracking the past and the decisions that were made, and history needs to be studied in order to ensure that those same mistakes aren’t made again. History is a thing of the past, and of the future. What is history and why should we study it? This is a thing that only time can tell.