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GRE Issue: On the value of history


kitty__lan 2 / 3  
Feb 6, 2011   #1
Well, I think the 3rd paragraph has some problem. Can anyone give me suggestions? Thanks!

TOPIC: ISSUE103 - "The study of history has value only to the extent that it is relevant to our daily lives."

The study of history is important since history is a mirror of human beings. History can provide us far more valuable insights on understanding ourselves and the world. Therefore, I do not agree with the speaker's statement that the value of studying history is judged by relevance to current lives.

It is hard to judge whether what happened in the past is irrelevant to our daily lives now. Admittedly, in the aspect of technology, we are living in a world of internet, computers and cell phones, which greatly influence the way of our living and differ us from past generations. However, basic problems such as wars, discrimination and poverty still exist. We are still facing the same issues raised by our ancestors because of the consistency of human nature. Therefore, one cannot come to a abrupt conclusion that any piece of history is irrelevant to our daily life.

I believe it makes more sense to judge the value of historical studies by whether it helps us understand ourselves and the world. It is generally the same standard when judging the values of other subjects like science. Take life sciences for example, most of the studies focus on molecular level, which is far away from our daily lives. However, it has potential values in understanding how our bodies function. Though some of the research can not be applied to our daily lives yet, by understanding ourselves further, future research based on these understanding may come up with efficient cancer drugs. Thus, the potential values from insights on us and the world cannot be neglected.

Historical studies also have value in the same way. As for understanding ourselves, the study of history provides enormous stories of people. By reading others' whole life stories in a short time, a person can gain lots of experience that cannot be obtained in real life. One of the most valuable lessons is the uncertainty of life. We get to know that a billionaire can one day be a prisoner, and a civilized and powerful nation may disappear because of intrusion of a uncivilized tribe. By understanding the uncertainty of our lives, we could be more prepared for sudden changes of life and stay optimistic, since there are so many unlucky people in the past. That is the reason why during Cultural Revolution in China, when professors were forced to become farmers in remote areas forever, most of history professors did not commit suicide and waited optimistically for ten years until they were released. The potential value of understanding ourselves can save us from disappear.

As for understanding the world, we may figure out reasons for the development of anything by examining its history. Take life sciences for example, the stories of past biologists do not have direct relevancy to one's own research. However, when a scientist examines the origin and development of life sciences, he or she may find that most of the remarkable breakthroughs are achieved by methods and devices of other fields. The discovery of cell is made possible by microscopes, and the structure of DNA is confirmed by methods used in Chemistry. If the methods of Physics and Chemistry were not applied in life science, most of the biologists would have still focused on plants and animal behaviors. Therefore, the history of Biology tells us that the development of Biology is greatly influenced by the application of fruits in other fields. If a scientist wants to make a great contribution to life science, he or she needs to know more about Physics and Chemistry. This conclusion cannot be reached without the study of bio-science history.

In sum, I believe that the study of history has value when it helps us understand ourselves and the world. History offers us a panorama of the world in any given time and place, and the nature of human and the world could be disclosed by the study of history.

dumi 1 / 6,928 1592  
Feb 6, 2011   #2
Hi,

My suggestions for your second para;

It is hardunfair to judge whether what happened in thedeclare thatpast events haveis irrelevantno relavance to our daily lives nowtoday . Admittedly, in the aspect of technology, we are livingIt is true that we live in a world of advanced technology where devices such as internet, computers and cell phones etc.which greatly influence the way of our livingmodern lifestyles and makediffer us different from past generations. However, the basic problems such as wars, discrimination and poverty still exist. We are still facing the same issues raised by our ancestors because of the consistency ofthehuman nature and its weeknesses hardly change over time . Therefore, one cannot come to an abrupt conclusion that any piece of history is irrelevant to our daily life.

------------------ There is a saying that "History repeats". Therefore past events and experiences provide invaluable insights into future occurances.
OP kitty__lan 2 / 3  
Feb 9, 2011   #3
Thanks Silva! I learnt a lot from your reply!! =)
EF_Susan - / 2,365 12  
Feb 13, 2011   #4
Yes, Dumi is one of my favorite people!

Capitalize Internet, because it is a proper noun.

It is hard to judge whether what happened in the past is irrelevant relevant to our daily lives now. ---It is unnecessarily complex if you use irrelevant. :-)

no need for the s on "war"
...basic problems such as war, discrimination and poverty still exist.

Great job with this sentence: By reading others' whole life stories in a short time, a person can gain lots of experience that cannot be obtained in real life.

I don't think you should capitalize the subjects:
... used in chemistry. If the methods of physics and chemistry were...

:-)


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