History

This is one of the most important disciplines to learn, or at least try to learn. It explains why things are the way they are, and teaches wisdom, but only if you learn history that's real and not revisionist, and that is hard to find. Most of the time you can only guess at what happened back then, with clues you find. It is not possible to be certain about anything in history unless you have a time machine.

It must be said that many cultures which historically did not pass down their heritage in text or symbols but in an oral, bardic, linguic, or griot tradition have almost been wiped out as a result. It gets weirder: legend has it that throughout history bardic and griot tradition would teach people important lessons (such as historic events and cultural ideas which would otherwise be forgotten) while entertaining them, so learning epics, folk songs, folklore, fairy tales, and legends might actually be worth your time. It is exactly as Mary Poppins said, "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down." The people telling these stories knew that by surrounding the important information in something entertaining, the listeners would remember. However, people stopped paying attention. Thousands, even tens of thousands of years of wisdom, of better ways of living and of thinking learned from eons of hard work, trial and error, and genius, all lost in a single generation. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to learn a second language and traditions that are not familiar to you, especially if that is part of your heritage, then it is very important for you to learn it. And don't just stop there. Be patient with your elders when they're trying to tell you some old-fashioned story or do some old-fashioned traditional thing that you think is worthless because it probably isn't. Talk to your parents and your grandparents; to the elders of your community, and patiently absorb the lessons. You might be one of the only ones to do so!

There is a major issue with history. It is not like the sciences or math, where each claim is reproducible in experiments or proofs and you can repeatedly prove what you're claiming. The problem is that anyone can claim something happened, and without actually seeing it for yourself, you have no idea how it actually went down. History is at best a bunch of educated guesses based on archeological evidence, in most cases the longest game of telephone or he-said/she-said that has ever existed, and at worst just a bunch of people making stuff up (i.e. conspiracy theories, tall tales, revisionist history made for propaganda and power, and Paul Bunyan).

Unfortunately much of history has been buried so much and so effectively that the only things you hear about it are directly from family lore passed down from person to person. One good example is the horrors of the Native American boarding schools and the westward expansion of white settlers into this country. From what little I've heard of it, it was akin to the Holocaust, and our Thanksgiving actually stems from people's unholy delight in killing off the original inhabitants of the land so they could claim it for themselves. More like this includes the Tulsa Race Massacre, Mileva Marich's contributions to Einstein's work, the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, Ellis Island's human rights violations, and on and on. You have to dig to find any of it and most importantly, ask people you trust what family history they've got which should be widely known.

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