Value of History on Individuals and Institutions
In the past few years, the teaching of History in educational institutions has been declining. The worth of the discipline is undeniably fading away which may cause more harm to the institutions than good. The teaching of History aims at understanding the past events and connecting them with the present. History plays a crucial role in orienting the present and the future. It is the best lens through which we can understand the driving forces of the contemporary circumstances. Several studies have proved that many learners do not appreciate the importance of learning about the past and therefore, do not embrace the usefulness of history. They feel that scientific subjects are more practical hence superior to the humanity. Many institutions are also slowly discarding the subject sacrificing it for the scientific and mathematical disciplines. The belief that history is less relevant in the modern curriculum is not only misguided but also wrong. As long as we hold the present and future vital, it would be illogical to view the past as insignificant. History plays a crucial role in shaping individuals, institutions, and the future.The pervasive advancement of science and technology can highly be blamed for the decline in the value attached to history. With the massive use of the internet, students perceive study of historical occurrences and cultures as outdated, primitive and irrelevant. The technological age lays more emphasis on the technical disciplines at the expense of the theoretical ones. The fact that most of the modern institutions are technology-based, no one thinks that history is in any way helpful. The contemporary world is far much separated from the past. The two put aside together depict exact opposites of one another. It seems that the past hardly contributed anything in the structuring of the modern world. As a result, many students have lost interest in the study of history and feel that studying is a waste of time and resources.
Generally, History is becoming more irrelevant not only in the modern learning institutions but also in the societies at large despite its contributions. History is just as important as Math. It enhances critical thinking skills as the learners strive to predict the future based on the past and the present. It also fosters innovation and helps people to think analytically. Although History is slowly fading away, there are still some traces of Historical concepts majorly in philosophy that have survived under modernization. These Historical ideologies were highly applicable in the past and still possess a high command over modern civilization. The proponents of such ideologies are still famed for their unrivaled insights and creativity. The ideas of these figures are the only remaining traces that can be used to convince the world that History is still significant even in the technological era.
The ideas of Karl Marx Friedrich Engels to a great extent govern all the discussions surrounding social stratification. The two earned much credit upon propounding the theory of Marxism. The theory suggests that a society must be classless and stateless thereby liberating the lower class and give them the chance to fight (Marx and Engels). Karl Marx’s revolutionary thought redefined democracy as the state of resources belonging to every member of the nation. Marx was against the idea of the owner of the means of production exploiting the working class under capitalism. Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, saw this theory as a revolutionary edge to make Cuba what it is today. He comments, understanding of the events that took place during the class struggle through history, the dichotomy that exists between the poor and rich, whereby some set of people exploit the poor to enrich their pocket, is the pathway to be enlightened about the socio-economic growth of the world. Marxism provides a basis for answering the modern fight between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Immanuel Kant was a great philosopher with most of his ideas focusing on moral uprightness. Nations thought that peace was unattainable until Kant wrote in his essay that it was achievable. This assumption is still existent in the modern societies because of the rulers, humankind in general or even irrational philosophers. Ideally, countries would have achieved and maintained peace if only they had embraced the ideas of the historical philosophers. It is also not too late to put these ideas into practice as they are still workable. War is the primary cause of all human suffering and trouble. According to Kant, the ultimate goal of every country is to achieve true perpetual peace among its citizens as well as with other nations (Kant, 1983). Kant in his essay dated 1795 introduces his content by citing some preliminary articles to aid in the establishment of an everlasting peace in the world. He states that perpetual peace is not only attainable but also a moral obligation that every individual should make efforts towards achieving. In his essay, Kant presents the necessary steps towards the achievement of perpetual peace. The strategy proposed by Kant is an ideal plan for creating better modern societies.
Edmund Burke is known for his thoughts on religion and morality. He argued that religion would aid in establishing and maintaining morality as religion itself is moral. Burke is among the ancient philosophers whose intelligence and reason was hardly surpassed. He is widely appreciated for his beautifully crafted thoughts on the France revolution in a political pamphlet, (Burke, 1790.) He argued that the France revolution was not based on the understanding that both the human nature and society were complex. The lack of this understanding would eventually lead to the devastating collapse of the French revolution. He was also afraid of the enlightenment ideology propagated by the likes of Rousseau and Voltaire who are defiant to divine order and moral sin. He further comments on the horrors of the France revolution, “Men will eventually become evil, if they decide to act like God because they do not possess the capacity to handle large amount of power” (Burke, 1790). Historically, Burke’s philosophical thought gave birth to the conservatism, and his words came to pass, with the execution of the nuns and clergymen as well as the rise of a military dictatorship which he had earlier predicted.
Marx, Kant, and Burke have had a great influence in the modern world and left behind a long-lasting legacy. Although many people do not appreciate their role, the fact that their ideas to a great extent shaped the world cannot be outlawed. There is still much from these historical philosophers that needs to be put into practice for better societies. The peace and other privileges that countries enjoy is as a result of the efforts made by the philosophical founding fathers. All nations should admit that they have abandoned the historical path and recollect themselves for a better future.
The University of Dallas is among the modern Universities which have managed to maintain the teaching of History education amidst all the technological turbulence in the United States. The University offers numerous history programs ranging from Art History to Philosophical History. The University is devoted to making the world to reconsider the past, embrace its dictates and appreciate its role in the modern world. This education should be preserved at all costs. Although the University is doing much to ensure that the discipline does not vanish, there is still much more that needs to be done. The administration should focus on admitting greater cohorts to pursue the history programs. The number that takes the courses is hardly adequate to transform the world’s views on history.
Burke, Edmund. “Reflections on the Revolution in France.” Hackett publications, ISBN 0-87220-020-5, 1987.
Immanuel, Kant. “Perpetual Peace and Other Essays” Hackett publishing company ISBN 0-915145-47-2, 1983
Karl, Marx and Friedrich, Engels. “Communist Manifesto (International)” ISBN 0-7178-02418, 1848.