“History Still Matters” by Bill Moyers
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1. Moyers compares the study of history to “the view in the rearview mirror.”In what ways is this quote an apt comparison? Much like a rearview mirror you always look in to the past with caution. The longer you look in the past the more you understand your situation much like the mirror while you’re driving. Without either you’d be lost. And Finally just like looking into the past, it’s a neccessary effort that should be taken by everyone. The comparison was quickly understood as soon as I saw it. It also was a new metaphor I had never even heard before. History is much like a rearview mirror when it comes to experience.
2.Give two contemporary or personal examples of Christopher Lasch’s quote on page 1. From personal experience my religion is something that my family takes very seriously. I’m not sure if it is do to tradition, culture, or experiences from the past. Without our religion there’s no telling exactly where I’d be. Religion not only shapes my past but everyone around me also feels the impact of it. Another example would be culture, mainly due to the fact that without any kind of culture there would be no separation between people. Cultural separation can be a positive thing when possible, because two people of two different backgrounds and history can them combine histories in a sense. Combining your history creates a more rich story that your family and people can carry.
3. What reasons does Moyers cite as to why Americans might not be interested in the study of history?Do you think he’s correct? Explain. As an American I see how we as a people have been molded to not care so much abouth the past. It’s about what is happening now and what will be happening tomorrow. We live for the moment rather than learn from our elders. As a member of the younger generation I know for a fact that we like to get rid of tradition and try what’s new, and sometimes that’s not exactly a great way to be. It’s especially negative when we show our hunger for gossip and our thirst to be apart of pop culture. I believe Moyers is correct on what he believes about Americans on history. The older generation of Americans have more of an apreciation for the past than the younger generation.
4. According to Moyers, what happened to the optimistic view of history as a “pattern of improving civilization?”Were we all really optimistic?Were just certain groups optimistic, i.e. were blacks, Hispanics, the poor ever optimistic? Myers believes that pattern has shifted from the way it used to be and not in a positive way. I believe that all groups have been optimistic in one way or the other. From the civil rights era to the LGBT movement currently going on today. If anything, groups put in any kind of underdog situation eventually rise up from the guidance of a strong leader that incites an energy that motivates a group to improve and make a change. This whole idea of optimism improving situations has proven to work (sometimes) the main key to improving is a great leader with a great agenda that helps people.
5. Do you think we can learn from the past, or have our circumstances changed so dramatically that the past is irrelevant? Explain your position. We can learn from the past and just as easily repeat it. We as a people tend to have memory lapses and don’t always remember what we need to. For every one person that actually wants to learn of the past there are probably three that are more excited about tomorrow. The past will never be irrelevant because there will always be people that want to further themselves and the only way to become of a higher mindset you have to learn from what the people before you have done. You must know about your elders’ mistakes in order to stop yourself from repeating the same mistakes. I personally live for the future, but I will always look back and apreciate history for teaching me and making me who I am today. Father time.