to me anyway....
many people study history to look for clues to the future, to try to see patterns, to see warning signs. they say "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."
for me, history makes me see things a bit differently.
looking at history, seeing what people did, what they went through, what they expected to happen, what happened, i realize the fact of perpetual change. i realize there is nothing privileged about the present, nothing special. i do not believe the whole of the past has lead up to this very moment, and what is happening now is of any significance in the overall greater scheme of things. i believe that right now is as temporary as every previous right now and will soon be no more than another moment in the general past. one hundred years from right now, people will be going through what they think is a special important moment, and it will be just another moment in a soon to become past. ad infinitum.
all humans, past, present, and future, find themselves in the midst of some arbitrary point in the middle of a complex, confused, rich and unceasing historical flow that is ever changing and will continue to change and evolve well after death.
what is going on now is important to us now, because we are going through it, however, what is going on now is no more special than any other time in the world's existence.
it's just life. people have been going through ups and downs since there were people. good or bad, enjoy now for now.