Sunday, November 27, 2011

Looking Back

In our society today, where does studying history stand?  Is it a priority?  Is it relevant?  In short, does it serve a purpose today?

Unfortunately, I have come to the realization that the study of history is of a very low priority in our culture. 

Talk to your friends and neighbors, what do they know about the past, of the peoples and culture that occupied their neighborhood prior to their arrival.  Are they living in a housing development that once was a thriving farm or orchard?  Is there a historical landmark or park nearby and if there is, have they ever visited it and do they understand its significance?  Check with the high school or college students you know, and ask them these same questions.  

I believe the vast majority of people are oblivious to the very history that surrounds them today.  And this in turn is an accurate barometer of their understanding of history in general.

During times of budget cuts and income loss, governments at all levels treat the funding of history as the lowest priority.  Perhaps that's the prudent thing to do but what message does that send to our fellow citizens, especially the students?

In addition to economic concerns other worries bother us such as issues on immigration, unemployment, education, defense, justice and warfare.  In our attempts to find solutions for these woes does anyone look BACK for the answers?  After thousands of years of recorded history, do we really think we are coming up with new ideas on how to handle societal problems?  I think not.

I think that looking back using an objective view of history can lead to solutions more readily than relying on politically expedient answers.  The reverence and understanding of our history is vital to our continued survival.  It is the duty of the historian to impress upon our governmental and societal leaders that the study of history is worthy of a higher esteem.

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