To think of the Past, To Anticipate the future
Honorable judges, ladies and Gentlemen:
Last semester I picked up World History for credit course.
“How is it relevant to you?” My roommates were astonished at my choice. Honestly few students, very few students take it seriously. They believe learning history is no more than remembering bunch of names, dates and events.
But things don’t go that way. There are many ways to discuss the real functions of the subject. Never limited by the confines of time and space, I learn to empathize by experiencing the feelings of others. I learn to be aware of what is valuable and what is worthless. Moreover, learning history contributes to increasing my critical thinking.
Take materials we have used for example. From straw to paper, soil to ceramics, from ceramics to rubber and metal to semiconductors, people create new materials on the basis of understanding the behaviors of old materials, and made sense how to make use of them. Thus social attitudes and policies about materials varied.
On this point, history offers information how people used different materials to reshape their thinking. It offers information that people generated new kinds of material, thus regenerating nature and society. Successful stories that went in the past have continued. Human society moves forward. History itself is indispensable to understanding why such progress occurs.
history serves as our laboratory in scientific research. Data from the past serves as the vital evidence to figure out why we behave. A reliance on current data would sometimes handicap our efforts.
How could we evaluate semiconductors seventy years ago if we were ignorant of metals a hundred years ago?
How can we understand Nano technology today if we are ignorant of the influence of fiber technology thirty years ago?
How can we anticipate the new roles of Nano if we are ignorant of its present application?
I come here to say learning history enables us to think, not merely to remember. This is what we can not afford to lose. Thank you.