We Should Not Preserve the Past, We Should Look to the Future

We should not preserve the past, we should look to the future. We are living in the modern era, where people are practical and realistic, optimistic that new inventions and discoveries will improve their lives. For most, it would be plain foolishness if one were to be so mindful about the past, when instead, one should invest his time and thought into building a better and more meaningful life in the future.

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Ironically, in the midst of their “pragmatic” judgement of keeping the past alive, these people have failed to recognize that preserving the past could well be beneficial in social and economic aspects, and even pertinent issues such as political decision making, and therefore, preserving the past has no less value than building the future. Winston Churchill once said “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”. The past teaches us many valuable lessons in life, for our time and many future generations to come.

We learn from our past mistakes, taking extra precaution in subsequent similar situations so as to avoid repeating the same mistake. If this sounds insignificant and unimportant, look at how learning from past mistakes have impacted the world on a larger scale, affecting the political decision making by world leaders. For instance, one of the main reasons for the rise of the Nazi party, and thus the start of World War II, was due to the harsh and unreasonable demands and unfair terms in the Treaty of Versailles that France and Britain forced Germany to accept.

This caused devastation to the whole of Europe, and much of America and Asia. Taking this as a warning from the past, subsequent political leaders have set up committees and organizations to ensure that countries are not forced to accept unreasonable and unfair terms in treaties issued by significant organizations such as the United Nations. However, if we ignore forewarnings from the past, we will repeat similar mistakes, which can easily bring about greater negative consequences.

For example, if the United States’ invasion of Iraq causes the Iraqis too much hardship and suffering, extremist groups and terrorists will be more incensed and gain greater support from their country mates which would in turn strengthen the belief in terrorism. Terrorist acts would be dreadful to the entire world, especially in the light of increasing globalisation. The collapse of a country would have far greater impacts now, and in the future, on the rest of the world, than in the past. Therefore, it is important for us to preserve the past and the valuable lessons they bring.

Numerous achievements in the past have not only provided us with the knowledge we have today, they have also brought great inspiration to the subsequent generations. For example, the well-known Thomas Edison, has definitely contributed much to the world by inventing the light bulb, and other such inventions that have become a vital part of our lives today. Other than leaving behind a legacy of breakthroughs in technology and science, Edison has also thought the world a great deal about perseverance, one of his most famous qualities.

While working on the nickel storage battery, he performed 10,296 experiments. Throughout his inventing career, Edison followed almost every unsuccessful venture with a successful idea. He stuck to his creed of working on only useful and wanted inventions, and changed the world with his drive for success. Such inspirational figures of the past definitely play an important role of teaching the following generations about positive attitudes and qualities that will bring people a long way in life.

Archaeological sites are also an expression of the past, and by preserving and restoring these archaeological sites, not only do we preserve the world’s human cultural and biological heritage for forthcoming generations, the money received from tourism can boost the economy of the country. For example, in Egypt, Tutankhamun’s Tomb, a historical Egyptian artefact, attracts around 5,000 tourists daily. Despite the large sum of money spent for restoring the site, millions more is recovered from the money brought in by tourists. Egypt can then put this money to good use that will in turn benefit the whole population.

In addition, while preserving archaeological sites, numerous jobs are created, which can further boost the economy of a country. Summing up, to those out there who hold sceptical views about preserving the past, remember that everyone is a product of their past, and the past is a determinant of their future. Sure, building towards a brighter and better future may have its own promising prospects, but if you were to choose between this and preserving the past, would it be worse to lose an opportunity that will come again, or lose your roots that can never be recovered once lost?

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