Photo credit: Rebecca Potochney

Perspective is a powerful thing. For me, history had always seemed black and white. The facts are clear that we have evolved from a primitive primate into a well adapted human and have created a culture that seems superior to anything in the past. Seemingly, we are the most evolved and most adapted to our environment, but looking from another perspective can bring new color to our history. A different perspective on this ancient thought may be so powerful as to help us solve our present issues.

Aboard the Godspeed in Jamestown, I was enlightened by the thought that we have not inhabited this area as a modern society for very long at all. It has only been four hundred years since the first settlement in Jamestown. This equates to only four people who live to be one hundred years old. I was asked if we are any different today as compare to those who stepped off the ship into Virginia in 1607. At first I was inclined to answer yes, of course we are very different. We have technology and a better understanding of our world. Looking back on my initial thought it seems very arrogant and closed minded. Many of our so called advancements are just the opposite. Take for example the ships that came to Jamestown in 1607. These ships were well designed to take on the seas because of the distribution of weight at the bottom of the ship. Cruise ships today are top heavy which could more easily tip over in a storm. We have regressed to a dangerously designed ship.

It is common to think that we need to learn from our past mistakes, but it is becoming even more evident that we need to learn from our past accomplishments. It seems that our ancestors lived more closely with the land and the environment than we do today. Though we have developed a society that evolved away from ancient techniques and ways of live, it would be beneficial to regress back to some of these older techniques. We need to look at our modern problems from a different perspective, the past. History is the source of our solutions.


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