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Jun 10, 2019 16:04:06

Why Is Ancient History Important?

by @jacklyons PATRON | 402 words | 100🔥 | 102💌

Jack Lyons

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My wife asks me this question all the time and I never have a good answer. I used to get really worked up as it seemed like such an "insulting" question. My responses weren't and still aren't that great... They ranged from "because we can learn so much from these ancient cultures" ... to "because it makes us realise just how small we are in this giant universe" ... Deep down I wanted to just shake her and show her how mind blowing history can be. However that's only because my inability to be articulate and compelling always blew any chance of convincing her.

After a while though, I would soon start to see her point of view. As a fundamental question, it makes sense to actually ask "why". Because it's not like it affects our daily lives and nor we can change what happened in the past anyway. So why is it important?

Well .... I don't know. All I know is that it is incredibly fascinating and absolutely mind blowing. I'm reading a book at the moment titled America Before by Graham Hancock and it's opening my eyes to a huuuuge chapter of a seemingly lost civilization that once lived throughout North and South America.

Before European settlement it is said there were gigantic cities with millions of people scattered throughout the Amazon jungle. And before the Spanish set foot on Mexico there was a thriving Mayan civilization. The Spanish came and annihilated the population by way of brutal mass killings as well as diseases like smallpox. They then went on to burn hundreds of thousands of ancient texts, books, scriptures and paintings over the following decades. Essentially, this has now left us with a huge gap in knowledge about our ancient past. Only now are archaeologists, geneticists, historians and scientists starting to look back and realise and just how smart the Native Americans truly were.

And last but not least, there is mounting evidence that a massive comet collided with earth around 12,000 years ago over the North America that rapidly caused the instant extinction of hundreds of species of mega-fauna as well as human settlements across the continent. Approximately 50 million square kilometers of the earths surface was savaged.

So yeah, all this happened ... But she always asks "so what?" ... I'm left scratching my head, wondering why this isn't fascinating to her..

I have no idea what to say? Why is history important?


  • 1

    @jacklyons You can be pretty detached and and say, simply, "It's important because we say it is."
    But the real reason it's important is because stories are important. The history of the Peloponnesian Wars are, in some sense, as important as the history of Joe and Joanne's many breakups. Because they are a story. They have a start and a finish, and probably a lesson. Just because math or science are not taught as history, it doesn't mean that they are not. As is physics, geology, or religion.
    If you happen to think that no story is important in any way, ever, then neither is history. But if your wife ever says, "Hey, remember that time..." and you say, "who cares, so what?" make sure to record her answer and play it back when she asks why history is important.

    Gabriel Greco avatar Gabriel Greco | Jun 12, 2019 00:27:44
  • 1

    @jacklyons Imagine what your life would be if you had to start from scratch every morning. No memory. No trace of your previous day's activity. Not even the concept of yesterday.

    That's not for me.

    Mike Byrnes avatar Mike Byrnes | Jun 11, 2019 12:33:10
    • 1

      @mikebyrnes I agree. History is important for understanding and furthering ourselves. But when it's so ancient that no one really knows what's true, when all we have is "evidence" to build a hypothesis... How does that fit in? We will never know 100% for sure, and yet we spend so much time trying to understand. Why is that?

      Jack Lyons avatar Jack Lyons | Jun 11, 2019 13:19:49
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