Is learning about the past pointless if the lessons are not applied to the present? This has been a point of debate by many people including a professor of ancient Roman history who supports the sentiment.
I totally agree with the professor basing on several reasons. William argues that, the past history is a great fountain of experience and practical wisdom to improve the present and as well as be able to anticipate and prepare for the future. In this regard, the past influences the present from which the future can be predicted. I feel that the main reason why people should study history is because it has some impact on their present life. Naturally, one cannot spend his or her time in learning something that is not beneficial to him or her.
The following are some of the significant roles history plays to the present to support my stand. First, history, as an experimental philosophy of the moral and social nature of man, is significant in understanding the nature and behavior of mankind over a long period of time which varies from age to age, and country to country (William 11). Through history one is able to draw a sequence of similarities and relations of man which can be explanatory of the present. For example, in history we learn that man has always evolved and is still evolving. From this history of evolution, we can compare the past with the current intellectual progress in man depicted in the scientific development which is an affirmation that really man has evolved socially, morally and intellectually.
Secondly, history provides us with a glimpse of the past events without really having to undergo them from which we are able to trace the present effects and reflect on the future effects (William 11). For example, through the clinical history of Human Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (HIV), scientists have been able to ascertain some symptoms and impacts of the virus.
Finally, through history one is able to appreciate the past events that have led to the present through which improvements can be implanted to. In simple terms it acts like a fulcrum which a lever of improvements can be implanted (William 20). For example, most of the current innovations are just modifications of the past events that were discovered. Think of the locomotives and the hand or horse driven carts in the past whose innovations have been greatly modified to the current error of motor vehicles. Additionally, time can be argued as the greatest innovator since time by itself is a great lesson of history. In conclusion, there is always a relationship between the past and the present.