Monday, November 23, 2009

Understanding your world through history

"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are". David C. McCullough.

If one day you feel you want to understand better the world in which you live, the reasons why your family is the way it is and why you are the person that you are in the present, grab a book of your country's history and read it. You may think there are no direct connections between what you're living today and what years ago happened in the same lands…

But there really are. Once you start knowing and understanding a little bit more about your culture, your country, your people, your ancestors, you start to realize how every detail of your present life has its roots in the past of a whole nation and even of its neighbors, and of the whole world.

If you see history as some academic task that you used to have when you where at school, is because you haven't let yourself understand what it is about. When you start seeing history as a true story that's been told in hundreds of different versions by hundreds of different authors, through history books and through novels, through documentaries and through fiction films, you begin to discover its magic, the treasure that's behind all those words and images.

Those stories that sometimes feel so distant and so old are the ones that have molded the world and made it as it is. Once you start connecting facts of different nations and cultures, your mind is able to see the world as one big universe that has a lot of interdependent small universes that are not far from each other after all.

History can help you understand who you are and value where you were born because that fact has made you exactly as you are. Sometimes you listen the name of a war and you just imagine some crazy people that a lot of years ago killed each other for no reason; but if you take the time to find out who those people where and why they risked everything they had, even their lives, for fighting in the lands where you now live, you might understand that they, as you, had families and dreams, but did something that changed your world.

When you know how your home was built, you value it the most. Don't let time pass without finding out and thinking a little bit about where you came from…You may surprise yourself caught up in the middle of a history book, thinking that is a great novel no one could have ever created if it wasn't with the richness of reality.

Learn from history; let it teach you wonderful lessons that no one else can. Understand the world you live in today so that you can have strong and active opinions about it, and so that you can confidently speak about historical facts and events. People like other people who know interesting details and who can teach them about different aspects!

So, go ahead, grab a history book about any moment in time that interests you and that you've somehow wandered about…It will change the way you look at the world and at your own life.

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