The past is gone, it can’t be changed, and it doesn’t concern you or me, right? Wrong. The past affects you, me, and everybody else constantly. When we think of history, most people think of those old guys, or those dead guys that fought in past wars, or those old guys that signed papers ending those wars. But history is what makes us stop and think about what we are about to do. History is not only what happened a hundred years ago but what happened five minutes ago when I upset my friend, and if I do the same thing later, I have to ask myself, what happened last time? History is those dead guys, or me advising me what not to do.
Why do we have these memories? It is so those dead people can teach us what to do, and what isn’t a good idea. It is so we can cherish happy moments more than just once. It is so when you touch that hot pan and it burns your finger, next time you or I will think, “wait a minute, last time it hurt… a lot.”
History shapes our ideas, thoughts, and actions as a nation as well as an individual I know that when I take the time to think back on my experiences, or what people have told me in the past, the outcome of what I am thinking about doing is always better than when I rush into a situation headfirst, with my head down and my eyes closed.
Another reason history is important is… well let me just show you. Think back to that time, it’s your birthday, you were very young. Your parents just bought you a puppy or that toy you were always hoping for. I’d bet that about 80% of the people listening to this smiled. Don’t those memories just give you a warm feeling inside? That is what our history is about, remembering not only mistakes I have made, but remembering those times when I was happiest. Especially when I’m going through a tough time, remembering the happier moments can sure help.
I have a friend, who at one point in his life began talking to people less and less. He had been a close personal friend of mine, and when he began distancing himself from others I didn’t think much of it. Eventually we lost contact and I became busy and eventually pushed him to the back of my mind. A little over a year later, during the summer I felt I needed to call him. I did, three times, but he never answered. I happened to meet him a few days later at Wal-Mart where he promptly thanked me. I questioned, and he told me that when I called he had just taken some pills to end his life. When he heard the phone ring he looked at the caller ID and saw my name. He told me that he remembered many times when we had done pointless things that kept us awake all night laughing our heads off. After that he immediately called the E.R. to get rid of the drugs he had taken.
Memories and past events, whether they be personal or textbook history can have a powerful effect on our judgment, and future decisions. So I say memories should be cherished and knowledge used and remembered. Heck those dead, old guys taught me a thing or two, and saved me many times. So… personally, I do believe in ghosts.
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