Why You Should Read History
History is the process of looking at the past in order to tell about it. Most all human societies have a history. Before the discovery of writing systems, history is usually considered prehistorical. “history” is now an umbrella term covering present day history, the historical record, discovery, compilation, recording, presentation, and interpretation of those events.
History helps us understand ourselves and the world around us better. Learning history allows us to evaluate our current circumstances and our options for the future. Through research we can learn from the past mistakes and be better able to succeed in the future. History also gives us insight into how other people view different situations and issues. Through this study history helps us make better decisions in the future.
History enhances critical thinking. Critical thinking is one of the keys to success in modern-day life. People need to use critical thinking skills to analyze and understand historical facts and events that affect their lives. People are more likely to reach a solution to problems when they adopt an open mind attitude about previous solutions. The best solution lies in combining logic with thorough research and understanding past events and practices. A good history student will be able to apply the proper critical thinking skills to solve problems.
Many social scientists study history and use it as a method to understand human societies and politics. Historians use primary sources such as primary source material, primary documents, diaries and memoirs. Primary sources provide valuable information about a specific person, place, or period. Secondary sources are those that originated after the primary sources while the later ones are derived from secondary sources. However, secondary sources are not as reliable because the history oftentimes goes through an extended filtering process and may often be subject to multiple interpretations.
A major challenge faced by social scientists studying history is measuring the different eras and periods. For example, even though ancient historians do not face a similar set of challenges, the challenge faced by historians is measuring the existence of different civilizations over time. Ancient historians do not face the same set of challenges faced by historians in the 21st century, though the challenges are still present. A popular debate among historians is whether the fall of the Roman Empire was a result of cultural decay or economic decline, or some other cause not clearly identified.
While many social scientists agree that there is still a great need for detailed historical studies, most historians also admit that the current interest in the history is largely superficial. Many historians argue that it is important to continue to study history because the knowledge of past events and people can help us better understand our present situation. In addition, understanding history helps us better understand ourselves and our surrounding culture. Moreover, the discipline of history can provide an object for creative minds to exercise.