An Understanding of the Past

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An understanding of the past is necessary for solving the problems of the present.
However uncertain it may be that the past can be relied upon to solve problems of the present, a knowledge and experience of the past is instrumental in teaching conduct, morals and values in a world that is in dire need of insight and direction.
1. George Santayana stated ‘Those who cannot learn from the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat its mistakes’
a) Nations have now learned from the wrongdoings of their predecessors and are inclined to be more compromising towards each other, rather than to resort to aggressive policies which history has shown to be an unwise choice.
b) In the past, there were two attempts to conquer Afghanistan, both of which failed. Had America learned from these mishaps, she would not have made the mistake of sending her troops there to fight an unwinnable war.
2. We may come to realize that the origins of many present problems are in fact rooted in the past.
a) For example, the problem of global warming, which has become a major issue today should be looked at from the context of the past. We are now reaping the results of pollution and the steady destruction of the environment, which has been taking place ever since the Industrial Revolution.
b) Racism, discrimination based on religious beliefs and suppression of ethnic minorities are concerns that are ever present today as much as they were a hundred years ago. It is precisely such misguided beliefs that have given rise to ethnic conflicts and wars all over the world.
3. In some instances, individuals and nations have learned from the lessons of the past and have made admirable reparations for their mistakes, solving certain problems to an extent.
a) The United Nations, which is the basis of safeguarding world peace, was formed by an alliance of nations who had experienced the horrors of World War II. Its founders swore to preserve world peace and to never let the world plunge in to



Bibliography: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2005/0501/0501pre1.cfm http://www.globalissues.org/issue/168/environmental-issues http://www.globalissues.org/article/165/racism January 17th

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