I found this today as I was looking for some paperwork. It is a position paper from a History class I wrote sometime last year. Just some food for thought.
What good is History? (A question proposed by Dr. McGee)
This is a simple question, with a complex answer. History means something different to all. History can be something spiritual, rhetorical, and sometimes literal. It is difficult to know who we are until we know who we have been. We all need a sense of beginning. History offers that. It is a complex discipline holding layers of life. It seems we keep digging for clues of our existence, looking for truth, and finding so much history in between. One hopes history would unlock the truth and mystery of it all, down to the beginning of the universe--absolutely everything.
History can be a spiritual journey for many. One wants to feel close to god, or have some sense of religion--something to believe in. Rising in prehistoric times, animism is the oldest form of religion, where one holds that every living creature has a soul, and that may also attribute to metaphors in mythology. History can give those seeking spiritual meaning something to hold on to--a life line.
Others see it as a novelty. A new or long forgotten notion which causes an excitation in a person, so to speak. It holds something different in meaning. It can be just as magical as in the spiritual sense, but in more of a unique, science fiction sort of way. A spiritualist looks to the heavens for answers, while others (rationalists, anthropologists, scientists, etc.) look to the Earth, and dig for truth, finding all sorts of tangible evidence.
History can be nothing more than tall tales, myths and legends. Beautiful stories told around campfires long ago passed down through oral traditions. They are so real they become true and believed by many. Tucked beneath allegory, some find real meaning through History.
History is, in conclusion, very good indeed. Often when we find the truth, or answer to something in our own lives; all the events that led up to that moment seem to make sense. History tell us what we need to know in order to progress. Again, we cannot know who we are until we know who we have been. There is great importance in this discipline: If we weren't meant to know the past, in order to get to the future, all would be lost and forgotten, and there would be no meaning.