Can history predict the future?
History is one of those subjects that could be endless if we had enough time. Many students throughout their school life end up studying a variety of time periods in an attempt to have a
History is one of those subjects that could be endless if we had enough time. Many students throughout their school life end up studying a variety of time periods in an attempt to have a wide overview of history by the end. The assumption from many parents is that their child should have a varied experience of historical knowledge and this should include every topic that is considered important.
However, deciding those topics is not easy, it is almost impossible to consider which historical event is more important than the next. But learning a wide variety of history allows individuals to delve deeper into the past in their own ways, whether in later studies or as a piece of coursework.
Is history an important subject?
There has always been a conscious understanding that we learn history to stop it from being repeated, in a sense learning from past mistakes. However, as we have discovered this is not entirely true. With the invasion of Russia into Ukraine, the Taliban again currently occupying parts of Afghanistan and labour/ death camps still in existence in many parts of the world we can see that humanity has not learnt from its past.
History shows itself to repeat and it is important to learn history to see these repetitions. Teaching children from a young age how the world has developed allows further understanding of why humanity is the way it is. History is not just about wars and old white men, it is a political and philosophical topic. Studying such morally intricate events allows further development in children’s learning further allowing this exposure to be a safe way of easing children into the reality of the world.
Can history tell the future?
A man named Peter Turchin has spent many years investigating how we can use history to our own benefit. In 2003 Turchin published his book “historical dynamics”. The book demonstrates his workings in which he shows the secular state of France and Russia from their origins to the 18th century.
Not long after his book was published Turchin founded cliodynamics. Cliodynamics works to show the underlying patterns we can observe in history and model them in a way to make scientific estimations of how the future may play out. His use of mathematics has allowed scientists to develop a greater understanding of how political scenarios may occur or how societies will evolve and grow. Of course, it is simply impossible for any historian to predict the future, but by using this “big data” approach Turchin has allowed individuals to locate patterns and use critical thinking to help make judgments about what the future may hold. Turchin as well as many others have used history in an important way to help future generations.
As time passes the databases will improve, highlighting more patterns and similarities inevitably helping to make these predictions more reliable. Could this approach of using data be the future of history and would we as a society be able to show the repetitions in humanity?