In a recent interview I was asked, ‘Why should we study History?’. Although my answer was brief and probably adequate in the circumstances, the question has been hovering at the back of my mind all week. Then, going over some research today, I realised that knowing about it makes me feel that I’m actually part of history, part of something much bigger than me.
In some ways we can be trapped it. There are parts of our personal history that we can never escape, much as were would like to sometimes. On the other hand we can draw great strength and consolation from studying the history of the world and trying to tease out the secrets of its survival against almost impossible odds. Of course there will always be pessimists among us who throw up their hands, in difficult times, and declare that ‘the end of the world is nigh!’ However, I’m an optimist, and a determined one at that. I look at the vast numbers of people who have lived before us in some of the most extreme circumstances imaginable. Without studying history we would not know about their bravery, their determination and the sacrifices they made for their families and their survival.
In life there are many things that come and go. Sometimes it feels as if they come and go at a faster and faster pace. But the great strength of history lies in the fact that it is here to stay.