On History

It is important I think to remember that history is a necessary part of the world. Without it, humans would essentially be goldfish – losing our train of though every 5 seconds and just randomly moving forward. I know that most people don’t like history because “They’re dead. What do they matter?” But, like I said…goldfish. I really want everyone to be able to understand and appreciate history for the gloriousness that it is, I want us all to become historians.

The first thing I would say is find a source that you like. By this, I mean find a website, or a book, or a movie that really helps you understand what the heck is happening. Especially with confusing topics like the Vietnam War, it’s important to find a source that you find engaging so that you can make it all the way through whatever you’re watching or reading and subsequently understand what is happening.

Then, I would really focus on some aspect of history you like. For me personally, that’s war. Now, I know that sounds bad, but many good things come out of war: new technology, new policies, important and intelligent people coming to the fore (like generals or heads-of-state). If not a general topic (like war or economic depressions) then maybe an era, like the Gilded Age in the United States, or the Victorian Age in England, or the Ming Dynasty in China, or the Viking Age in Scandinavia. Just make sure that whatever you chose, you really do enjoy it, or what you’re learning could get monotonous or boring. And if neither of those options interest you, start with a particular person: Robert E. Lee, Salvador Allende, Henry VIII of England, Saladin. Often if you choose a particular person, you can move from them to another person or even an era that they led you to.

Finally, I would suggest that you find out as much as you can about the topic, era, or person. You don’t need to be researching every day, but maybe once a week check on your topic and write down your favorite fact of the day. Share those facts with people. And, even if they give you funny looks because you are telling them about brass sculpture in Sub-Saharan African tribes in the 6th century, you will feel validated for learning something new. And if you don’t feel validated, talk to me and we can geek out over history together.

I think that history is one of the most important things that has been passed on through the ages and needs to be remembered. You can be a part of that remembrance, you can participate in leading our world into a new age! You can remind everyone that no, we should not threaten to intervene in Korea, because that happened before and it did not end well. You can be the next great prophet. Go forth, be good, learn well.


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