The Past is a Fascinating Foreign Country
Imagine a country where everyone is different than you, where the residents speak different languages, have different values and live in ways entirely different than your own. Indeed, many of these people are so different, you might think you were in a parallel universe.
The past is such a country, but far vaster than any country you could name. It encompasses the whole globe and includes many civilizations which have long since disappeared. To learn the past is to embark on an adventure into the unknown.
The Past is Your Past
Everything about your world – from the way you dress and talk to the political rights you enjoy – is the product of decades if not centuries of struggle and development. Learning history is a great way to learn to appreciate the meaning and value of it all.
Every generation seems to think that it’s the first to “really” struggle with questions of existence and human society. When you learn history, you realize that many people of the past have dealt with the same questions and often came up with better answers than you could think of.
Furthermore, before you go on complaining about how lousy life is, spend some time learning about people who lived in debilitating poverty or slavery. Exposure to diseases and deprivations of the kind you’ve never experienced should help put your own life and problems in perspective.
You Don’t Need a Degree
Learning history has never been as easy or enjoyable as it is today. Between crash courses, documentaries on youtube and historical websites, history is no longer just the dull stuff you have to learn for the test and forget five minutes later.
So go forth and enjoy the ride.