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Ignore History At Your Peril

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Contributor:
Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

Why study history? It was a question I was often asked during my university course. While friends went down the typical path of Accounting, Law and other degrees that led straight into the workforce, for me history was a lesson in life and not just in a particular profession.

Often our education path is dictated by our desire to settle in some sort of occupation in which we can find decent work at what we consider to be reasonable pay.

The problem in our current schooling systems is the pressure students face in deciding on subjects at such an early age with a career path in mind. Therefore the likes of Maths, Physics, etc take on extra importance.

History is often viewed as a non-essential subject but this is short sighted.

The study of history encompasses everything, from politics to economics to sociology to anthropology.

Don’t get me wrong, Maths and Sciences are important but without History, that knowledge cannot be placed into a wider context.

It is also essential if we are to avoid the mistakes of the past.

As former German chancellor Konrad Adenauer said, “History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.”

Our lack of historical knowledge is why we sit back and watch the turmoil in Gaza. Without a true understanding of the nature of the conflict, we accept it and have no knowledge of what is happening and why.

Another example of societies ignorance of history is the cash crisis that threatens the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Such historically significant places, especially one such as a concentration camp which only decades ago saw the attempted eradication of an entire race, must remain as living testament of our journey as a species, where we have come from and, in this case, the bestiality humankind is capable of.

As the global financial crisis forces governments to tighten their economic belts, what they consider non-essential funding is cut. The reality is sites such as Auschwitz must be protected and funded so they can be preserved for future generations.

The cost down the road of ignoring history will be far greater than the monetary value of ensuring historical sites are preserved and students learning more than just Algebra and Pythagoras.

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