Most people don’t know where they are in space and time. That is, they don’t know much about geography and history.
Of course, they know their local area and they know the date and how to tell the time of day. In that sense, they know where they are in space and time.
I mean in the broader sense. That’s why you go to college, to broaden your horizons. So by space, I mean geography in the sense of the rest of this planet if not the rest of the universe. By time, I mean history in the sense of thousands if not billions of years. In that sense, most people don’t know where they are in space and time. And not just now. Most people who have ever lived haven’t known much about geography and history. What about you?
What is the most important lesson of geography and history?
The world we know is not our only option.
In other times and places, people lived their lives differently than we do. They organized their societies differently than we do. All over the world, they still live differently than we do.
Will our future be like our past? Then we can just keep doing what we’re doing. With that assumption, change is bad. Other options are threats and what people did in other times and places is not relevant.
Or will our future be unlike our past? Then we have to know more about our options. On the assumption that you are in college to make a difference in your life and society, then you are here so that your future will be in some way better than your past. In that case, you owe it to yourself to learn about as many options as you can.
How many options are there? Too many to count or keep track of. You’ll never know them all, but you can easily know some of them.
The process by which options are chosen is education at the personal level and politics at the social level. As a person, how will you, and as a society, how will we, develop, that is, change. Which options will we choose?
In this course, the personal development is important. This is a writing course, an intensely personal skill, but you won’t write about yourself here. Instead, you will write about how our society is developing, the options for the future that we are choosing. We will focus on the current U.S. presidential election process.
A third of you are criminal justice majors, a third are vet tech majors, and a third are biology, psychology, business and other majors. In the interests of time, I am going to go into more detail about the first two. However, I would be happy to sit with you individually and talk about how this course relates to your own interests.