Words of Wisdom: Mysterious History

Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

History started one second ago. But it left something behind—the present. But the present makes no sense unless you know what made it.

That means history made everything that exists. But if we can’t change the past, does that mean the future is inevitable?

History is a mysterious substance. It’s like a flooding river. We can’t change the path it took, but if we understand how it flows, perhaps we can redirect its course.

In other words, if you want to change the future, it helps to know the history, the causes and effects—the way things work.

That’s why schools teach history. It is not so that students can memorize enough facts to pass a standardized history test. A good grade is only the booby prize. Schools are supposed to teach history so that our young can learn how the world works. After all, they’ll have to work it for themselves someday.

History is the operator’s manual for creating the future we want. After all, most of the world’s greatest accomplishments were often thought to be impossible—until somebody did them. That’s one of history’s greatest lessons.

And that is why this week your Jamestown Gazette invites you readers to join us in celebrating—learning from—Women’s History Month, 2021, from Monday, March 1 through Wednesday, March 31.

The history of women’s accomplishments and human rights victories in the United States—the operator’s manual for creating a new future—calls for determination, bravery, and grit. In that, Women’s History offers lessons for all people who want a better future.

Though it is often said, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it,” I suggest in honor of Women’s History Month that we turn it around. “Those who learn from history gain the power to improve on it.”

But learning from history is not automatic.

Aldous Huxley, nine-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature and one of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century, warned, “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

So we encourage our readers this week to celebrate Women’s History Month in honor of women’s contributions in American history. And with that be inspired to create your own future.

The future, after all, is just like the past—it is only a moment away—except the future begins right now. Make your history the way you want it to be.

“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.