Geography and History

How often have you heard the phrases, "Timing is everything.", and "Location, location, location."? It's interesting that we accept common phrases, but we cringe when we imply some degree of academics to the same phrase. What if the sayings were translated to say, "Everthing relates to history.", and "Geography is the factor."? Would you think it's really that, or would you think it's simply academics imposing some unimportant value to common things?

How often do we suggest time and space are the two most important factors in something while we ignore the study of them to understand things? Geography and History are the two oldest academic disciplines partly because they do explain almost everything and partly because they effect everything we are and do. Yet when geographers and historians present their ideas and findings, they're dismissed as academics not involved in the realities of world?

For example, if an historian discussed the events surrounding our involvement in Iraq and what are the factors why we're succeding or not succeding there, they're dismissed as not seeing today's reality, but when an "expert" talks about the situation today in Iraq, we want to know the history of what happened and why it got to be? On one hand we accept the pundit but dismiss the historian? Because we want to accept a view of the future without really understanding the past?

In another example, we'll dismiss the explanation of the geographer about the past development of an area and why the landscape is today, but we'll accept the real estate agent's description of it's value because they understand today's market? It's the same, we'll accept the pundit but dismiss the geographer because we want to know the present and future without the knowledge of the past.

And there is the ever-present saying that those who don't study the past (place and time) are doomed to repeat it. While we accept the talking heads telling us what they expect, we don't want to hear from those explaining the who, what, when, where, and why we got here, like it doesn't matter. Let me pose the question another way? If you don't realize everything that got you where you're reading this, can you expect to know what's ahead after you've read it?

I realize we can't understand everything. I'm only suggesting we pay attention know the geography and history of events to have a better understanding of them and what's realistically possible. It's the old adage about repeating the same experiment and expecting different results. The same applies to life, ours as we live and in the world around us. Knowledge of place and time keeps us grounded in our world. We don't have to know all the answers, often it's simply asking the questions that matters, to keep us looking (place) and searching (time).

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WSR V2.8, January 2013