History, in its simplest terms, is the collection of events that have gone by. History is everything that has happened in the world, whether it happened to us individually, to our friends, to others, or even to everybody. History makes up the very nature of everything, and has been a part of everything in existence. I have met some people in my life who could not care less about history, with the mindset that something in the past that has outlived its usefulness is no longer needed. Little do these misguided people know, history has played a large part in shaping their lives and will continue to do so, therefore, studying history is of the utmost importance.
There are many types of history. The kind most people think of is the famous men and women in the past who have facilitated great events in our world. However, the kind that I believe we will find more useful is the history of ourselves and our social world. Take, for example, a person who goes to apply for a new job. What is one thing any potential employer asks when examining a potential employee? That would be employment history. Employers use history to make educated choices regarding their work force; who to let in, and who to let go. Granted, this is not the first thought that comes to one’s mind when thinking of history, but it is history nonetheless. In court rooms, an examination is always made oof the individual’s is on trial, they always examine his criminal history (or lack thereof) to be used as evidence either for or against the accused. In fact, the entire case revolves around the history of a single person (or persons) at a certain point in time.
Even from an athletic standpoint, practice history determines how effective an athlete will be in the field. The more experienced an athlete is, or in other words, the more history he or she has to draw from, the better judgments will be made during the game. With our friends, we all have that one friend that shows up 30 minutes late, therefore we tell him or her to arrive 30 minutes before we are supposed to go anywhere. Or how do we decide to trust people with sensitive secrets? Who in the past has honored a promise to keep something quiet, and who has not? Here, we utilize the history we know about our friends. Whether we realize it or not, we use our past experiences to make decisions and educated guesses on what our next move should be.
Another major use is determining who we should spend the rest of our lives with. People prefer not to spend time with others who have proven to be a bother or troublesome. From a psychological standpoint, our history defines much of who we are, aside from what is instinctively hard-wired into our brains; we learn through our past experiences, our history.
History makes up everything around us, from great and powerful changes in the world to the interactions of our daily lives. To completely disregard history inevittably destines one to the same mistake twice. Without history, how would we know who to hire and who to fire? How would we know what to examine during a court case? How would we know what friend we should tell to arrive 30 minutes early? Who to trust? And above all else, who to marry? History is powerful; history is a part of everything imaginable. To revisit the old question: “Why should one study history?” The answer, quite simply, is: “How can one not?”
Adam Farence is a second-year student majoring in history. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu.