I may have mentioned before that I am somewhat of a fan of history. History was often a “cause” word back in school. It would “cause” you to cringe, “cause” you to roll your eyes, and even “cause” you to skip (out). Funny how we look back on those times and think to ourselves “if only……”! Sadly, the up and coming generation is missing out on that realization of “if only”! But, even more regrettable is the aspect that many of the elders within the country’s borders have never really had the “if only” moments. What is the “if only” that I’m referring too? It’s that magical moment where you regret a situation, realize that this type of thing has already be done, documented, and passed on to future generations to learn from, and guess what….you were not one of them!
Well, c’mon everyone! We have all been there. We slid through history classes just to get to the other side. You and I both know that the thought of learning something from the past always generated that old question: “what has this got to do with anything I wanna be when I grow up?” There it is in a nutshell. Admission from all who dare confess that we did not see an ounce of significance to the teachers’ lessons. Greek and Roman blah blah blah….. World War huh? Blah, blah, blah…. The what crash of what year? What? The civil who movement? A wall came down? So?
Back in the days when I had the once-in-a-life-time chance to live in Europe for a few years as a young lad, I was given an opportunity to see things that many here in the U.S. will never see in person. What I saw was my introduction to a realization that things that occurred in the past greatly affected the future. That future was the here and now. The immediate moment. Not only did it have a major impact on the small, but also the grand scope of everything around. Standing in large, grown-over craters or next to collapsed-in concrete that once housed munitions and warriors of a past generation gave me that realization of reality. This is real. This impacted the landscape, the people, the commerce, the politics, and spread throughout the world!
But, wait! If this single facet of reality from the past affected our present, what about all the rest of the history lessons in school? Those are events that impacted the world around me as well? Those past happenings are there, documented and supported by the remnants of its’ people, places, things! Oh, the a-ha moments that wake us up and get us smelling the coffee!
The understanding that washes over you when you come to see history as a great lesson to learn from is immeasurable! Yet, at the same time we come to realize a sadness that derives from that understanding as well. If we look at archeology and what that science does, you first note that each dig starts at the top and works downward. Dig and find the remains of a people, a culture, a history. Dig further and you discover a new people, culture, history that lies above another people, culture, history. Stacked on top of each other through the centuries of events. It is well documented that entire cities are existing on top of entire cities. Did we just bury the past? Did we try to ignore history by sweeping it under the ‘new’ rug?
In many instances, we have. And, as we see so often, we never learn from that past because it is now “out of sight, out of mind”. Instead, we give the past a name, put it in a book of history knowing that many will avoid it during the years of learning. That generation will leave the institutions of learning, leave the family nest, go out into the world and begin to make changes. Missing out on the opportunity to learn of history so that they can learn from history and avoid repeating history.
In this modern era of high technology and super-fast information, the only thing that is being taught is progressing to the next level. The future history books will label our recent past the Age of Ignorance, sadly followed by the Age of Stupidity. Common Sense says that we are doomed to repeat history if we do not learn from history. The results of this can be seen far and wide, and also in our own backyards. It would seem that the dumbing down progression is in full sail. And those of us that shake our heads in saddened disbelief each and every day watching the ‘up and coming’ clueless, have to share with Mr. Clemens in saying “the trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”
Spoken out of sheer frustration. Spoken out of utter madness. Spoken out of deep sadness. Our country is on the brink of disaster, not only in the political arena, but religious, technological, business, and personal because we have set aside the past, buried it with our own greed and want of power. We have become so self-absorbed that anything or anyone around us is deemed nothing but a threat and a nuisance. We don’t have time or care for little things anymore because we are too busy. And that tiny piece of history that seemed insignificant, yet greatly spread to affect us, even today, is happening again. Filled with the same negativity and vile narcissism that was cause for other sad footnotes in history. Is no one learning?