Wednesday, October 12, 2005

learning history

So i'm a fan of history. I love it because it helps you understand today. Nowadays all you hear about is things becoming accelerated: the internet, lifitng speed limits, gas price increases, my income to debt ratio . . . With history, it gives a person a chance to look over long periods of time and look at the different factors that influence daily life.

I mean shit. Life, the world, is complex. Really complex. And there are literally millions of things that go into how the world works. You can't find them all at the same time, but you can notice the important stuff through reading history. Things like the development (continual) of language, technology, communication, the evolution of transportation: foot, animal, machine, and how that affects the daily lives of people, not just their ability to travel, but the movement of goods, materials and ideas really quicly, etc. that's why i like history.

Other people don't like history. Because they haven't been taught how to deal with it. I mean, in grade school nobody was taught how to think about history, just how to memorize facts. More importantly, i think, people weren't taught how to understand how history happens. There's a big difference between remembering the fact(oid) that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and having a movie in your head about it.

Along with the movie comes a whole host of considerations: how they measured distance, how they oriented themselves to the stars, what they wore, what they ate and drank, how the Captain held his power, how the shipmates repaired sails, etc. A whole lot of day-to-day information is missing from that factoid. So what i've noticed in my own experience is how i make history come alive in my head. I imagine it! Sounds simple doesn't it. there are two things that make me facile at history: 1) how i understand it and 2) how i 'format' it.

More later
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