Many people see history as boring and pointless. However, there are plenty of reasons to read history as it is a far from useless endeavor.

History Gives an Insight Into Human Nature

History gives insight into human nature
Photo from The Library of Congress on Flickr
History gives insight into human nature
Photo from The Library of Congress on Flickr

One of the most important reasons to read about history is that it explains what it means to be human. For example, the subject of Nazi Germany entangles many aspects of the psychology of authority. History gives us the ability to understand the limits of humanity, showing how far we can go into particular situations. This allows us to see our weaknesses before they destroy us.

History Allows for a Better Understanding of Culture

History Allows for Better Understanding of A Culture
Photo by The New York Public Library on Flickr
History allows for a better understanding of culture
Photo by The New York Public Library on Flickr

We are always influenced by the past, even when we don’t realize it. The past often affects how a culture sees itself, making the reading of history extremely important. Understanding history allows people to better understand a culture’s worldview. The subject is also what is often behind shaping cultures in the first place.

History Allows for Understanding People in Context

Old books on a shelf. History allows for understanding the context of figures in history.
History allows for understanding people in context
Photo from Tom Murphy VII on Wikimedia Commons

Humans have a tendency to mythologize and demonize historical figures. However, the vast majority of figures in history fall in the gray. Researching history allows these subjects to be placed properly. Each subject is influence by their time and place, just as we are in modern times. By placing them in context, the myths we build around these characters usually fall apart.

History Explains Modern Issues

The subject of history gives reasons why modern issues are debated. Two stacks of books next to each other.
History explains modern issues
Photo from Kate Ter Haar on Flickr

History often plays a major role in the issues of the modern day. For instance, here in the United States, a major subject of debate recently has been race. This has many roots in the history of our country’s past. Practically every subject in any country is like this. History gives a much better understanding of these issues.

History is a very important subject. It is far more than facts on a page. It represents the story of humanity. It is always with us, whether or not we believe it is. Understanding it allows us to better know ourselves as a culture and as a species.