Is their any benefit in teaching, learning or having any knowledge of historical fact nowadays ?
It could fall into two camps:
It’s in the past so no longer important in the world today
Yes, all education is valuable
I like to think of myself as a pragmatist, actually I like to think of myself as a Brad Pitt lookalike but that’s for another post, I’m nothing if not logical and practical.
I can see that the youth of today will derive more benefit from being able to use spreadsheet software than they would from knowing that Lord Nelson was shot in the eye with an arrow at the Battle of Waterloo !
However, if we don’t know where we come from and what has moulded us both as individuals and as nations how can we truly understand ourselves and society ?
I was prompted into this by reading about the lamentable state of historical knowledge amongst the UK population - 1,000s of people polled thought Churchill was a nodding dog in a TV ad for example !
It’s easy to laugh at such things, indeed I’ve done so myself
Statistics such as 13% of the population thinking that Horatio Hornblower won the Battle of Trafalgar induce both shakes of the head and wry smiles but how funny is it that 45% of Britons associate nothing at all with the word Auschwitz ?
I think it’s arguable as to the depth of knowledge required of history for those not actually specialising in the subject but surely a basic awareness of who we are and how we got here are a prerequisite of general all round education not to mention respect for the past !
They say history repeats itself and so it does - we are in the middle of the so called credit crunch much of which could perhaps have been avoided if more people had kept one eye on past events !
Knowledge and education continually evolves and given that fact it means some things have to go as new things come in but surely there is room for grounding people in some basics and saving them from the descent into appearing to be, and in some cases more than appearing to be, a moron whose only use is to be a laughing stock in statistics !
I raise a glass to basic education