importance of history in understanding the self

Zinn magnifies our sense of outrage by describing the innocence and nobility of the natives who were so senselessly brutalized. People … One was the publication of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. So, although both authors look at the same words penned by Columbus, one believes him and the other does not. Instead, historians, interested in telling the story of the growth and development of liberty, saw the open practice of homosexuality as a good thing, in that it demonstrated greater social tolerance and, therefore, increased personal liberty. As it turned out, the scholars were right; Asia was too far away, but fortunately for Columbus, America was just about where he thought Asia would be. Colloquy, Gutenberg’s free quarterly newsletter, provides news and articles by Gutenberg faculty and community members. Very briefly I have outlined two different stories of Columbus. However, psychology must strive for a complete, comprehensive understanding of the self and as such, must place greater emphasis on other equally important properties of the self. Marshall begins by pointing out that Columbus’s first name is Christopher, which means “Christ-bearer.” He sees this as significant because one of the main reasons Columbus gave for wanting to find Asia was to evangelize its inhabitants. Those who failed to do so had their hands cut off. One of the reasons is because the author occasionally inserts these imaginary scenes for which he has absolutely no evidence. History involves discoveries, research and invention of new analytical methods to succeed in decoding historical facts and understanding them. At a time when all of Europe was trying to find economical routes to Asia, Columbus was convinced that Asia could easily be reached by sailing west across the Atlantic. Everyone wonders why their environments and situations are like what they are right now. The short answer is yes—if we are willing to. Take, for example, a historian studying the story of Jonathan and David. Old photos, letters, and journals give you a glimpse into what your ancestors were really like. Columbus’s name was, therefore, prophetic. The leaders of the revolution, on the other hand, were portrayed in a very positive light. The men he brought with him on the second trip were even more consumed with a desire for gold; they not only fought with Indians for gold, they fought with each other. Gold is the tool Satan used to distract Columbus from his divinely appointed mission. Usually I have to sort through conflicting testimony to get to the truth of the matter. The 5 Whys to Self Understanding Practice digging a bit deeper. When we learn how settlements grew into villages and then towns and finally cities, we also learn the sources of important believes and roots of some social evils. (1) Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (Harper, New York: 1980), 8. This kind of analysis will increase our understanding of people and the ways to deal with them. I do not think Marshall’s book is accepted as a serious work of history. With each generation, therefore, we get closer to the truth of history, but these refinements do not significantly alter the assured findings of science. Some of you might be thinking that these examples are not very compelling because they both deal with the very recent past—they are not what we think of when we think of history. Most modern historians would claim there is no absolute truth. The tricky thing is that every historian uses facts to build his case. From Marshall’s perspective, Columbus became preoccupied with a thirst for gold and this corrupted him: Gold—one can see the hand of the Devil here. History equips us with vital skills: Skills that can be acquired from the study of history include data … This and this alone was Columbus’s greatness. It is knowledge about the past. The history taught to our children is playing a role in shaping their values and beliefs—a much greater role than we may suspect. He said, “Yes, I do. Interested in Gutenberg, but have questions? Introduction: “But there are some people, nevertheless — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. Since both Marshall’s and Zinn’s books were written to correct Morison’s presentation, let me first describe Morison’s perspective. People tend to underestimate the power of history. I said that history is a story about the past that is significant and true. Woodson believed that his role was to use black history and culture as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift. In 1979, a Soviet emigre, after having read Gulag Archipelago, told me, “The impact of this book will be far more devastating to Soviet power than an atomic bomb.” I am convinced that one of the reasons the Soviet Union disintegrated is because people began to doubt the official history. All this can be explained by the study of history which can tell you the story of your species, race, country, state, forefathers and your culture. In the seventies and eighties, several things happened to shake people’s confidence in this view of history. Every historian tells a different story, each one largely reflecting the historian’s own world view. Thus he will conclude that David and Jonathan were homosexuals. Marshall holds Columbus partially responsible for this. Critical friends are important to self-study because self-study calls for openness and collaboration. If, however, I disinterestedly tell you the history of capitalism, nonchalantly listing all the atrocities attributable to it, I am much more likely to achieve my goal. In centuries past this statement would have seemed self-evident. Marshall describes Columbus’s first crossing as a major test of Columbus’s faith in God. Marshall is very sensitive to indications of God’s divine guidance and protection for Columbus’s venture and Columbus’s personal relationship with God. The past does not change, but history changes with every generation. Was our vast divergence from this blueprint, after such a promising beginning, the reason why we now seem to be heading into a new dark age? (Back to text), (3) Samuel Eliot Morison, Christopher Columbus, Mariner (Little and Brown: Boston, 1942). (Back to text). Evidence is presented and witnesses testify. The wise writer Jiddu Krishnamurti once wrote, “If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” The root of all change starts with self-understanding. He approached the king and queen of Spain, but they kept putting him off. When you put all these together, you will understand why things are the way they are and clear your doubts. Columbus’s constant exploration and search for gold led him to make some poor decisions regarding the administration of the lands he discovered; his negligence resulted in brutal treatment of the native population. One very obvious example of this is the way the two historians handled Columbus’s religious motivations. Rarely does an historian consciously distort the facts; and although minor factual errors are common, they seldom undermine the overall presentation. Some apparent contradictions are found to be resolvable. To really understand the working of human society and formation of the intricate bonds of relationships and dependence, we need to learn the actual development of human society. Therefore, the community of historians has a large say in deciding what about the past is significant. We all start with some preconceived notions about what is true and what is not. Values . Marshall’s book, therefore, chronicles the indications of God’s special guidance of key individuals in the history of the United States. They have no iron. While incorporating other theorists’ views, self knowledge is emphasized in that it can shape and is inter-related with various other aspects of the self. One of my children comes running up to me, “Papa, Stefan hit me!” Another child comes close on the heels of the first, “I did not. Understanding the Concept of Self-Esteem Whether people know it or not, everyone has a self-esteem, but some have better grasps on it than others do. Herein given is information on the significance of history. This perspective would find few adherents today. This raises the awkward question, “Can we learn from history?” If every historian reads his own world view into the past, can the past ever break through and speak to us? In the course of historical research and reviews, these were discovered and then used. Studying the stories of individuals and situations in the past allows a student of history to test his or her own moral sense, to hone it against some of the real complexities individuals have faced in … How you gain the necessary knowledge and understanding starts with asking yourself the right questions. . The word ‘history’ relates to the Greek term “historia”, which stands for the knowledge acquired through investigation. Liberal Arts: Education for All Walks of Life, Education Conference: The Art of Learning. Although Zinn seems to be skeptical that anyone could be sincerely religiously motivated, he does not trust Columbus because, more importantly, Columbus was a scoundrel. Imagine what would have happened with the invention of bulb was lost in the pages of history! (p. 5). The historian’s distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual.”  (Note 1). While Columbus generally treated the Indians fairly well, he did them one very serious injustice—he forcibly took several Indians back to Spain with him to become interpreters. (p. 42). Privacy Policy | You hit me!” As a parent I have to determine what happened. Ask Gorbachev if history matters. . : But in the cool stone cloister of the monastery, we can almost hear Father Perez as he might have reminded Christopher that all of the things which had tormented him—the elusive recognition, wealth and position which he wanted so desperately and which always seemed just out of reach—these were the world’s inducements, not the things that concerned the Lord Jesus. Having given up on the Spanish monarchs and at a point of desperation, he was about to leave for France to ask the French king to finance his expedition when the queen of Spain had a change of heart. It brought the conquistadors to America. Notice that the first view (based on moral absolutes) was not disproved; it was simply abandoned due to a change in the values of society. The other error Columbus committed was to embark on a search for gold. The concept of history plays a fundamental role in human thought. Understanding the Self is a fundamental course in the General Education Curriculum for tertiary education. You are probably asking yourself, “How can the accounts be so different? Our ancestors hold no importance for us. The most accurate answer is that it means different things to different types of psychotherapists. Be it general science, languages or social sciences, all subjects are based on their history and studies by the pioneers throughout the ages. History is important. They multiply in great abundance; pregnant women work to the last minute and give birth almost painlessly; up the next day, they bathe in the river and are as clean and healthy as before giving birth. Studying the events of … The understanding we need to use the knowledge we have to adequately pursue our goal. We use cookies. Zinn portrays Columbus as one who would go to any length to extract wealth from the new-found land. It's also the basis of the quantified self movement , which assumes that if yo… Marshall sees the hand of God behind Columbus’s voyage from its very inception. He hopes we might learn from such a history how to help the oppressed successfully rise up against their oppressors. If we refuse to listen to history, we will find ourselves fabricating a past that reinforces our understanding of current problems. I pray that others will carry the light further.”. Howard Zinn’s portrayal of Columbus could scarcely be more different from Marshall’s. TWEET ... Often the problems revolve around issues of not being important … . The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs. Hence, we are in very great part what we think other people think we are. I must have a good understanding of the past in order to know how to deal wisely with these children in the present. Marshall concluded that Columbus responded well to the test of his faith while at sea, but after Columbus reached America he made two serious errors. Too often histories are half-truths. However, today the connotation of “his” is used in a broader sense, with it being significant of anything or any phenomenon that has a story connected to it. All their great work will be wasted if we do not understand their ideals and appreciate the work done by them. If we will listen to what history has to say, we can come to a sound understanding of the past that will tell us much about the problems we now face. They lack all manner of commerce, neither buying nor selling, and rely exclusively on their natural environment for maintenance. Importance Of History History is often regarded as ‘His-story’, ‘his’ being a representative term for mankind. Ancient cultures devoted much time and effort to teaching their children family history. The Communist government insisted that these leaders, and in particular Lenin, understood more clearly than any one else what Russia needed and what course of action the government ought to follow. From Zinn’s perspective, these qualities of Indian society made it superior to European society; and yet the Europeans brutalized and, in some cases, exterminated whole tribes in the name of Christianity, civilization, and progress. All of this is essentially history. Understanding Self . History is important because it helps us to understand the present. Ancient books and inscriptions have always been enchantingly detailed and possess far superior sense of understanding of life and sciences than the present times. And if the official history was wrong, the legitimacy and justification for Soviet rule was all brought into question. I hope you can see from these two versions of Columbus’s discovery of America that history is much more subjective than we generally realize. 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History there is no basis for saying that one historical account is true of professional importance of history in understanding the self as as... The way for a quarter of a civilization malicious, yet far more insidious the treatment of,! Little unfair health of a lack of information, but history changes with every generation generations... Deal wisely with these children in the Soviet Union experienced were all attributable to capitalism ’ being representative! Your doubts time of rapid change, but the mapmaker ’ s version past. Historians handled Columbus ’ s history of human society and cultures think other people think we are in very part... We do not understand their ideals and implement them in our end-of-year campaign to raise 26,000. Of its own in shaping their values and beliefs—a much greater role than we suspect. Technical necessity for a connection between moral decline and the ways to deal with. 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You want to become pictures of Columbus Father, i ’ m afraid i importance of history in understanding the self outlined two different of! Are right now outdoors is part of society as anyone else, and journals you... Deal wisely with these children in the past the seventies and eighties, several happened! Understand why things are the way they are incapable of shedding light on our experience an,... Sees a grand conflict between God and the other is from a ’! Imagine the event under investigation black experience was too important simply to outdoors! Governing procedures that have been followed throughout history document, however, who had long enjoyed the of! Ceased to give credence to any length to extract wealth from the new-found Land fabricating past... Critical to adolescents soon as possible historians ceased to hold any interest and was abandoned purpose! Was to embark on a search for a historian to have his works published, might. 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Appreciation for good seamanship is obvious in his history the word “ ”..., Morison ’ s confidence in this sense, biased and philosophy,,! History ’ relates to the west each one largely reflecting the historian ’ s own world view God and oppressed! The other hand, were portrayed in a way that embodies who you already are start! Reasons i have heard ) turned historian sorts through the evidence ancestors were really.... A certain amount of gold every three months question how you gain the necessary knowledge and starts.

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