What is History

What is History?

By: Edrick Brown
E-mail: Unitee1372@aol.com

What Is History? What is history? Where do I start? And who says it started there? I wasn�t there, does it matter? Can I accept whatever happens in another part of the world into my personal history, or just in the worlds history? What parts of history are most important? Who decides? What a question! The word history has many attached meanings to it, and the result is that the definition for history depends on who it is you are asking. But What is it? Dictionary.com states that, �history is a narrative of events; a story.� Everyone has stories. it goes without saying then that everyone has history. But what about looking at the world in a broader aspect. I think we could look at humans, in whole, and see that we all have a history; a social history. Also, what students mostly study in textbooks, and in lecture halls; political history. Therefore, history, in my terms, can be broken into three very different branches: Personal, Social, and political. A friend of mine unfortunately parted ways with a woman whom he devoted a long period of time to. Inquiring, as I often do, I ask for the details on their break up. I was given a response of, �Man, She�s history.� And my friend is exactly correct. This woman now lies within his personal history. Had this girl never came into my friends life, he could not claim her a part of his history; his past. We have defined history as, �a story,� and my friend can tell stories of him and his girl. (in fact lately that is all he talks about) The Vietnam war was a very important part in history. Actually, the boss at my present place of employment served a long period of time in the war. He was a grunt. I have asked him about it, trying to hear maybe a story or two of what it was like, but he doesn�t like to talk about it. this part of his history he shuts out. Many veterans are like this. I believe the reason being is that the war that is in his history is a very different war than we could ever read in books or hear about from professors. War is different for everyone; as is history itself. These few examples give way to the first area of history; personal history. This is the story that everyone has. A day to day evolving story of everything that resides in an individuals past. Anything someone can think of that has happened; their retelling of it becomes history. Personal history can, just as the other branches of history, be interpreted for meaning and truth, and most importantly to help with decisions in the future. My friend who had the, �split up,� can now go over all the history he has with his girl and figure out what it was the lead to the break up. this is important, for this information can help him with future relationships. On the other hand, as in the case of my boss, some people refuse analyzing the past for information. Sometimes the stories are too difficult; too hard to handle. This is acceptable, for it is his history and his choice to do with it what he wants. The next aspect of history is the social history that we all help to form. Social history resides on a broader scale of things, throwing out every single personal history. Social history, I define, is the story of human beings. How we got to where we are today. What we did to get here. How we have changed. In social history we can understand different groups of humans, and this is where we are greatly influenced by things such as culture, family, and living. Our social history is long. It starts somewhere in the middle of nothing. God or the Big Bang? you pick. and it ends up here right now. We started small, maybe even as small as little neutrons and protons, but we have evolved. We have created a language, created trasnspotation, created the basics of living (food, water, shelter) most importantly we have created the thoughts feelings and moods which now influence us on our journey ahead. To retrace some steps, Social history is how the human exists. What he and she have done to remain. Last but not least is political history. Personal it is my most un-favorite are, but that is not important. Someone decided long ago that politics are important, and so they are. Political history is the history that separates one nation from another. Political history is the study of our own government, what it has done to help get us where we are, also what it has not done. With political history often comes an unruly amount of names and faces and dates. This history is often the most mistaken. A little bit cleaned up to make it look good on paper, if you will. History books retell what happened, politically and often socially, so we can understand where we come from and where we are headed. For years in grade school and in high school you were to read your history books as if they were the truth. Now in college I have come to the understanding that what lies in the books are only words. These words may help understand what went on in the past, but they can not be exact. For instance, I never learned, in high school, that when pearl Harbor was bombed that Americans set up there own camps for the Japanese; just as Hitler did for the Jews. This was not in the books, the teacher didn�t speak a word of it; yet it remains a very important part of history. It shows not only was that time for the �Americanese,� a tough one, but also that we as American were influenced by the disgusting, demanding powers of Hitler. Politics; one of the three taboo�s when you are in a bar. You never talk about money, religion, or politics. This is the truth. Many people have their own interpretation of political history. Many kling to the red, white and blue as if it is all they know. It is wrong though, that instead of learning about what really happened in the past, we learned about things like patriotism, � the golden era,� and all the other glitter. Our political history runs as deep as the Mississippi. And I am sure if you want to scrape up info on politics in the past, they may be as muddy as that big river. This is our history; take it or leave it. It is what we have done; good or bad. Again, our history can be broken down to three different branches; Personal, Social, and Political. All of these, if studied in an un-bias manner, can help to see what lies ahead tomorrow. We know what he have done, and we know what we can do; we just wait to see what happens. In the meanwhile there is history. Something to talk about; � A story.�

Word Count: 1189