There are so many different and amazing things that we can learn from history. Many people study it out of curiosity, but students of history, whether they study it at a place like UC Clermont College or out of a book, can learn many practical things as well. If we really take the time to dive into history and really embrace it, it is amazing how much we can learn.
1) People Never Change
The study of history is the study of humanity, and it reveals truths about the human condition. Studying history shows us that people aren’t much more different today than they were hundreds of years ago. Historians look at graffiti from the past and find that it is almost the same as modern graffiti. They can even read historical plays with the same jokes as modern comedians. Studying history reveals that people are fundamentally similar to each other, regardless of where and when they live, and that many differences arise because cultures adapted to different environments. This makes it easy to empathize with other cultures, and can help people work with people who come from different places in any endeavor.
2) Their Technology Works
People rarely associate the past with advanced technology, but looking at technology in the past can still teach us lessons. Engineers often get trapped in their own culture and focus on improving what they know rather than trying entirely new solutions. Ancient cultures provide other models that they can examine for useful innovations. For example, green architecture often involves earth structures that are based on ancient designs. Modern technology has improved them, but the idea came from the ancient world.
3) It Gives Perspective
The modern world’s problems can seem terrifying and unsolvable, but historians rarely suffer from that fear. They can look back on all of the problems that ancient civilizations faced, and doing so can put modern problems into perspective. They know that while the Bronze Age Collapse once destroyed almost every city and empire around the Mediterranean, humans in the area managed to survive, rebuild, and progress. They can look at crime and death rates from the past and realize that despite the media’s insistence that the world is dangerous, it has actually been getting safer for decades. Many problems seem small when they are compared to the ones that humanity has already overcome, and some seemingly dangerous trends disappear when they are examined and compared to the past.
4) It Breaks Preconceived Ideas
People have preconceived notions of the past from simple lessons in childhood and media representations, and those notions are often wrong. Studying history and realizing those mistakes teaches a valuable lesson about human fallibility, since early lessons are little more than a sequence of these revelations. Historians quickly become comfortable with the idea that something they thought was a fact could be completely incorrect. They can easily apply this to other fields, which makes them relatively good at admitting their errors and correcting them.
History isn’t simply a matter for idle curiosity. It teaches valuable lessons about human nature, and it also helps people learn to abandon incorrect assumptions. That knowledge has applications in almost every aspect of human life, and it gives a great deal of value to the study of history.
The article was written by Kara Masterson, a freelance writer hailing from Utah, United States.