In 4th grade, I wanted to be a History teacher. That is, until I got a C in my social studies class. Not that great of a start. Although I either Aced or got a B in all History related classes since then, I never enjoyed it for two reasons.
The first is that all the history school teaches is memorization of dates, places, names. That’s it.
The second is that as I grew I thought, why are we so focused on finding out who the step-brother of a churchgoer was and what they ate each day? Why aren’t we focusing on the future? Sure you can learn a lot from the past that can help in the present and future but is that what we are teaching and focusing on when it comes to history? What happens when we find out everything from history and pre-history (no longer making there such a thing as pre-history)? Will we then finally focus on the future, or wont there be one by then?
Nevertheless, this book was given to me and I’ve been on a reading spell to read all the books on my shelf before I move. So with that, let’s start this book regurgitation!
- I know this is sort of trivia, but I never actually knew how each day of the week was named. You will find the answer in this book. (or Google)
- Gombrich explains the difference between history and pre-history. I think pre-history is hilarious. All we can do is “act” like we know what happened. But we don’t and I’m unsure if we ever will. Afterall, nor am I sure that we should be enlightened with that information.
- I had a good laugh when I finally made the connection of why the language teaching software, Rosetta Stone, is called that. *sigh*
- What was also mentally stimulating was understanding where the original alphabet, reading and writing was created. The Phoenicians are the ones who established them and the place in which they expanded was in the marketplace. The Phoenicians were merchants and marketers!
- What I loved about the Greeks and Athenians was that they came up with something new every year, they were always creating and everything was always changing. If you think you have trouble keeping up with the technological advancements now, try living back then!
- And guess where all this change was brought and transferred at? The marketplace! Makes you wonder if in this consumerism world that is so badly reputed, is actually benefiting us. Afterall, it’s in the marketplace that ideas, painting, sculpture, architecture, plays, poetry, inventions, experiments, discussions and arguments took place.
- “While the Spartans only ever thought about fighting fit, ready to crush any who created an uprise and protect themselves so that they may stay liberated. The Athenians took a similar hard strategy to life. They weren’t looking for an easy, comfortable life, but one which had meaning. A life of which something remained after one’s death. Something of benefit to those who came after.” (Pg 46)
This is powerful, the change and improvements in life were just that because of the previous generations efforts to make it so. Something we need to consider and take more seriously? I think so.
- The Greeks conquered everything. Then, of course – just like every other culture – they were eventually defeated. But in this defeat, they decided to conquer people in a different way, the alternative to war: knowledge.
A similar transition we must take. We have tried to conquer everything and rule through politics but war has shifted what politics means. A rebirth of education can change this and we can again begin to think of politics as a trustworthy answer like the Greeks once had.
Note: If you haven’t noticed my point. I’m relaying history in the way it should be taught, with the theme of improving the now, the present and quite possibly even the future. So far, no names, no dates and no places. Cool huh?
- I never heard of this term: Pyrrhic Victory. But I’m going to find a way to use it. It means that you won but at too great of a cost.
- The Americans fight to the bottom was a Pyrrhic Victory. (Find a way to use Pyrrhic Victory, Check.)
- Another awesome piece of “trivia”. Vandals were a tribe that ravaged Rome and insisted in the downfall of any and every other tribe. They were terrible. That is where we get the term Vandalism, which is actually charity work when compared to the type of destruction the Vandals actually implemented.
- “When people take sides they are usually unfair” (Pg 134)
- Paris has so much more history than I imagined and more than any movie or book can relate! Especially in the time of enlightenment. No matter what anyone says, and I know it, and I haven’t even been to Paris, but there’s something thought-provikingly radiant about the city. It’s as if the historic fumes of the enlightened still travel through the air to inspire artists of all kinds from all over the world who go to visit Paris. I can just imagine…
- “Citizens were excluded from politics, which suited many of them very well.” (Pg 240)
- “The history of all the inventions that followed is not as simple as you might think. In most cases they began with an idea. This idea led to experiments and trials, after which it was often abandoned, only to be picked up again later, perhaps by somebody else. it was only when a person came along who had the determination and persistence to carry the idea through to its conclusion, and make it generally useful, that that person became known as the ‘inventor’” (Pg 241)
The way I see the world, is that every idea is truly unfinished. There isn’t a tower in the world that you can’t put one more block onto and there’s not one single idea that you can’t find a way to add to. That is all creativity is: playing off a million other ideas and inventions to create something new. It’s the alchemy of the world.
- I’m going to be socialist for a moment. In the factory days people had the opportunity to declare that they wanted to work no more than 11 hours a day and get 2 loaves of bread for them and 2 for their family. If no one was willing to work for cheap or give up bread, then they would have been treated equal. Instead they raced to the bottom.
We have the chance yet again to unite and say we want a school that matters and will not accept anything less. If you agree, I hope you come back at the beginning of August to get your copy of my eBook Start Schooling Dreams.
- Now, I like to spoil movies. I love it actually. I always ever say that ”Everybody dies”. Of course that doesn’t actually happen because it would make one extremely pointless movie.
Well, I’m going to spoil the truth of this book, of history. Everybody dies. Truly, they do. In between everything I regurgitated here, there was death. Sorry.
- What I admire about Gombrich is that he ended this book with the simple action to “hope for a better future.”
Stay Positive & Act On That Hope
Garth E. Beyer