In math class today, howaboutwetalk posed an excellent question: “Why do we study History if some of us will never use this information in our lives?”
This is an excellent question. At first blush, the content of history studies might seem like little more than a mind-numbing procession of irrelevant minutiae. But if history is nothing more than the accumulation of facts and events, how is it possible that countless scholars have spent their entire lifetimes in the service of researching the past? Consider the scope and scale of places like the Smithsonian or the Asian Civilizations Museum. Consider the resources devoted to the creation and maintenance of these institutions, not to mention the work that went into researching their content. Is the human obsession with history simply a grand example of our tendency to hoard things?
Feel free to respond with your ideas or with more questions for consideration on this topic. We will take up this discussion in class on Monday.