I'm in a very preachy mood today. So here's some preachy monologue.
I used to hate history lessons and some history teachers. They were only interested in finishing the syllabus. They wanted us to remember only dates and places and who did what. They didn't bother to answer the question "Why?" That's why I flopped the subject. But that doesn't mean I hate history. On the contrary, I love reading about what people do in the past. About how they created things we use, and even take for granted, today. How they solved scientific, mechanical or medical problems. Most things, except about the killings, wars and tortures and what they did to innocent people. But then, these things happened because of some desperate person's crazy actions while others might have been caused by nitwits desperate for some self-glory. And that's the answer to the "why" question.
History is for us to help chart our future. That explains the importance of history in our lives. No doubt history is often written inaccurately and mostly biased by the writer's own prejudice and mindset. But that doesn't mean we should brush history aside and say, let the past be the past and look only towards the future. It's good to be forward-looking, but we shouldn't be simply throwing away experience and valuable lessons that our ancestors learned through trial and error. At our personal level, whether we are aware or not, we are guided and greatly influenced by our own history. We carry it with us wherever we go.
Mostly, we get our experience free of charge. But sometimes we pay dearly for it. I once read about a great industrialist who hired a manager to run his business. He was doing fine until he made an error and the company lost a million dollars. Friends of the industrialist asked if he was going to fire the guy. He said, "No. We just spent a million dollars educating him. Why should we give someone else the benefit of our investment?" He didn't become a great industrialist by accident.
Once in a while the past tend to creep up on us and say, "Boo!" Some of these historical factors might be embarrassing or even be bad for our current situation. They can even threaten to screw up whatever efforts we've put in to attain our current status. To avoid such bad things from happening, we need to be careful about what we do, because what we do today will become our own history tomorrow. The most important is not to do anything that goes against our principles or what our conscience say we shouldn't.
But there are certain drawbacks about looking back. Sometimes it's not good to dwell too long in the past. A great piece of advice I read somewhere said: "As a door closes behind you, do not gaze upon it too long that you miss a new door of opportunity opening elsewhere".
Learn from the past, savor the present and strive for the future. The world now is a global village. Make the best of whatever you've got, wherever you are. Your future begins today, whatever your age. That includes me.