I have been a history fanatic for most of my life and do enjoy visiting many of the sites I have read about. But, I want to make it clear that I don’t want to relive history. I study it so that I can learn about how others have, or haven’t successfully lived their lives. As the old saying goes
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.
I study history to celebrate our successes, but also to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes that others, in the past, have made. As Einstein said idiocy is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. There are so many tragic things that have happened in the past, that seem to just repeat themselves regularly. I can’t even count the number of wars we have been involved in and mostly for the same reasons, over an over again. Looking back we most often can’t understand why we got into them in the first place.
Too many people today are almost exclusively looking back at the “Good Old Days”. They think if they can just make the clock go backwards, everything would be better. I read history and realize that, despite these currently ugly times, we have never been better. People who were dying in the past for so many different maladies are now leading healthy lives thanks to modern medical technology. The mundane and stifling jobs of the past are now relegated to mechanical robots. I don’t want to go back to the good old days as they were really not good for way too many of us.
I study and preach history so that we might learn lessons from the past, so we don’t constantly repeat our mistakes. Perhaps the most important lesson to learn about studying history is that it is just a piece of the puzzle for living today. It helps us make a better future.