History is Important, Dumbass

Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 09:09 PM

It is far too often that I hear people complaining about their history courses, usually to the tune of "it's already happened, why do I need to learn this shit?" There is a very good reason you need to "learn that shit," you mongoloid, and that is because history is goddamn important. No matter what field you go into (except maybe fields that require you to ask "do you want fries with that?") history will be important. Mainly, because each field has a history, and not knowing what's already happened is going to hinder you.

Let's take science for example. Now, I could claim that all I need to know is the history of scientific thought, such as how these ideas were developed, but that wouldn't really be enough. Yes, I could be a semi-decent scientist, but if I want to be a good scientist, and a good person, I should know what led us up to this point. I should understand the origin of science (mostly Sir Francis Bacon being the fucking man and inventing it), and how thought proceeded prior to this (mostly Greek philosophers being idiots, and renaissance scholars believing that a well-worded argument must be the correct one). It would help me understand how science has come to be and what direction I should be going. But even outside of the field, history is important. Let's take something everyone more or less has to participate in: politics.

So, everyone always talks about the directions they want their country to go, politically. What they don't seem to usually realize is that a lot of these directions have happened before, and we already know the results. Take the whole "terrorist" fear that has been happening for the past decade in the U.S., robbing its citizens of their normal liberties. It rings strongly of the Red Scare and McCarthyism. And that's just knowing recent history. If you looked further back, you could link it also to things like the Reign of Terror (but not quite as extreme), or possibly the Inquisition. The examples of this (growing sometimes steadily more violent) keep occurring as we go back through history. The fact that similar events are littered throughout human history shows that we tend to repeat ourselves, because people don't really change all that much on the base level. The thing is, if we could constantly be able to look back and see "oh, hey, we did something like this already, and it totally fucked us over in the end" we might be able to adjust our behavior. You can use the past to predict events in the present, and if we never learn from the things we've done over and over in the past, we'll keep doing them over and over. And since most people don't seem to care at all about history, they don't recognize this pattern, and will keep driving us to doing the same things over again, with slightly different reasons. The fact is, we could use history to see what mistakes we might make in the future and prepare for them, but people hate it too much to care. And that's just completely moronic.