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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Student Essay - There is no value in learning about the past. Do you agree? – by Kim Min Ji, Year 9, Sayfol International School

There is no value in learning about the past. Do you agree? – by Kim Min Ji, Year 9, Sayfol International School

Recently, there have been a lot of arguments about the history of Korea. Many young people don’t know about the past of their country and they say the past has no value to them. Korean university entrance examinations do not require candidates to know about their national history so young ones don’t know about the past and it causes problems with older people. As such, I totally disagree that learning about the past has no value. In fact, I believe that it prevents us from replaying our mistakes, helps us to predict the future and enables us to understand certain things more deeply. 

To begin with, learning about our history prevents us from repeating our mistakes. The biggest mistake that we need to prevent is that of wars. Hitler managed to start World War Two and destroy so many lives because the other nations initially allowed him to. By the time the rest of the world decided enough was enough, it was already too late. We now have the United Nations to keep the power of individual nations in check. Because we have learned from the past, we hopefully will not have to live through another world war. 

Moreover, learning about the past helps us to predict the future. Everything happens again and again, in a cycle. Without the past, there is no present. Without the present, there is no future. And if we can predict our future, we can create our future from where we are now. We can fix our weaknesses and enhance our strengths. This is the only way to live fully in the present. That is why we should learn from the past – in order to predict and control the future.

Last but not least, learning about the past helps us to understand the reasons for certain behaviours. People behave in certain ways because of particular reasons. We may hate somebody because of their behaviour but if we know the reasons for it, we can be more compassionate even if their behaviour is bad. For example, there is a Japanese group called Kamikaze. They are soldiers that rush into their enemy’s camp with a bomb. At first, I hated their behaviour because they killed so many people. But when I knew the reason, background and the history of Kamikaze – that is was also a form of suicide and sacrifice for their country - I felt pity and compassion for them. Therefore, learning about the past teaches us to be more understanding and compassionate. 

In conclusion, learning about the past has great value to all of us. We can prevent repeating our errors, we can foresee the future and we can become more understanding. Thus, we should pay attention during History class and not complain that we have to learn history.

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