History is more than just the past – it is a valuable teacher and educator, providing fascinating insight into real events, noteworthy characters and the important theories and discoveries that shaped our current society and way of life.
Too quickly we seem to be losing touch with what truly matters and are disturbingly overvaluing information possessing no long-term benefit or insight. Our history has determined how we live in the present and will directly influence our future too – never a trivial or worthless concept to disregard. As we rush forward with expanding technology and pervasive social networks, we should consider our place in time and take advantage of the opportunity to wisely use our advanced capability to access and share our valuable experiences.
I fear that the suffocating nature of today’s media and publishing landscape, which is currently dominated by superficial and disposable talent, paid advertorials, lightweight lifestyle programming, and unthinking commentary, has shifted attention well away from content of interest and historical importance, by significantly decreasing the available space and time for genuine in-depth reporting and intellectual discussion regarding significant events and concepts.
A shameful ‘entertainment first’ mantra, where only the instant fix is desired, is now prevalent throughout many media platforms, an outlook which causes major recent events to be quickly forgotten, whilst fluff and nonsense remain in the spotlight for weeks or months. The growing buzz of trivial and banal infotainment masquerading as important and factual news has now become a constant and tiresome drone of worthless self-promotion and shameless posturing, hyped by media-made mouthpieces and flagrant peddlers of highly questionable content. Do we really wish to be so undesirably shallow and deceptive?
We are constantly told to live in the now, be on the edge and ahead of the curve. This attitude creates decreasing opportunities to reflect on what has been, and to acknowledge the lessons from the past that will help guide us into the future. Our history holds so much of value and substance, particularly now as across the entire globe we continue to struggle with key life impacting issues such as poverty, industrialization, sustainability, equality and justice.
It would be extremely irresponsible for us to neglect the great deeds, shocking tragedies, discoveries and mistakes that form our collective history, and to blindly march forward unaware of where we have come from and the noteworthy details of that journey. History is much more than just a series of dry old facts, left only to those who wish to seek them out. It is inspirational, humiliating and all emotions in-between; a knowledge base of infinite value, provoking thought and intense discussion well beyond insignificant celebrity headlines and paid promotion.
We need to enthusiastically teach and share the stories that make up our history in this complex world. Their guidance, entertainment and contemplative quality offer us all the capability to understand and determine our path ahead, without simply repeating the mistakes made previously.