Learning from the past for a better future

Learning from our past happens on a personal and collective level.

As a society we need to learn from atrocities like the Holocaust. How did normal people turn on their neighbours and lead to such violence and the death of millions of people?

How did similar events come about… such as the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, or Serbia?

Similarly, it’s important to assess the more mundane events in our own lives.

Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it

George Santayana
learning from the past

How to learn from the past?

Identifying the lessons from history brings hope that we can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

To start with, we need to ask:

  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What forces were at play?
  • What can we do differently in the future?

These are extremely powerful questions, and are the basis of future growth and resilience.

In the case of genocides and global issues, they are key for tackling issues such as inequality, division, and intolerance of all kinds.

This site is dedicated to these big questions.

Through articles, stories, and poetry, we’ll dive deep and explore these themes.

Part 1: Collective learning from our past

Learning from the past is about understanding what happened. What were the forces at play, the human instincts, and the mistakes made. A big part is identifying the mistakes of earlier generations so we don’t have to repeat them.

Learning from our past is also a benefit for collective memory, as well as a warning against future human rights violations.

Through a collective exercise of honest learning, there is hope that we can make humanity more tolerant and peaceful towards each other.

Part 2: Individual learning from the past

As well as learning about the past for collective reasons, there is personal value in learning from the past. Learning to recognize how human instincts develop, and how we respond as individuals is a skill we can use in the present.

Learning from our past allows us to see how we make decisions. It means understanding ourselves better, and learning more about others too. It’s not about dwelling on tragedies or feelings of guilt, but learning to grow as individuals.

Learning from our mistakes leads to tolerance and peace

The lessons that are learned from humanity’s darkest moments are not always positive or easy to learn. Learning requires taking a long hard look at ourselves, individually and as a collective, and trying to understand the actions of others.

As individuals we tend to become defensive when criticised or judged – especially those that have been affected personally. But we want to take a more positive approach. To look at learning from the past as an exercise in humility and growth.

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