GRE Issue Essay 192

“So much is new and complex today that looking back for an understanding of the past provides little guidance for living in the present.”

Technology is experiencing an exponential growth in the modern world. Gadgets and their associated technologies are getting obsolete within a couple of years. Until about 10 years ago floppy disks were the main devices for external storage or data transfer and now the latest machines don’t even come with floppy drives. Does this mean that we can completely forget about studying how floppy disks worked or can we afford to ignore the advantages and drawbacks of floppy disks? On the contrary, it was a detailed research on the pros and cons of using floppy disks that led to the development of CDs and DVDs. Therefore, it is evident that despite the complexities of modern world, it is important to look back and understand the past for succeeding in all future endeavors. Moreover, one can find the solutions to present day problems only by learning from past experiences.

Why is there such a hue and cry over nuclear disarmament all across the world? This is because Man has been witness to a nuclear holocaust early in the Twentieth century. The experiences of the past have guided us to improve our present by taking necessary steps to ensure that such an event does not recur in the future. Could this have been possible if we had chosen to ignore studying the past for planning our future?

Everyone is aware of the toll taken by the World Wars on human lives and national economies. A study of these wars has prompted nations to strive for improving their relations with each other in a bid to avoid unnecessary wars. At the same time, studies of the wars that have taken place in the past are a very important part of the military strategy of any country. The defense tactics of any army is largely based on the lessons learnt from the wars fought by them in the past. Whenever an operation has to be launched by troops in a new area or terrain, the first step is to gather information related to similar operations that may have been conducted in the same area in the past. Such information prepares them for what can be expected during the course of their impending military operations. Therefore, it can be seen that understanding the past is absolutely essential for living in the present despite the fact that now we are much more technologically advanced than we were in the past.

Technological advancements have succeeded in providing us with the modern luxuries of life, but we have been able to come this far only because of the guidance we got from our past. The roots of the present day technology lie in the scientific theories that were formulated in the past. Can we afford to ignore the theories of Science or the Mathematical formulae, which were established in the past, for setting forth new theories? It is absolutely essential for researchers and scientists to study what has been researched in the past so that they are able to get the required guidance for their research work in the present. This is the research work that results in the technological developments.

We have been awed by the archaeological marvels that were constructed in the past. There have been numerous studies based on the construction techniques of the past and the modern day architects have utilized the same techniques time and again for constructing buildings in the present. A study of the past not only reveals the mistakes done by the people of that era, but one also gets to learn a lot from the time tested techniques that were used successfully. In conclusion, it is evident that we are progressing into the future only because we have chosen to understand the past and utilize it as a starting point for all our present day work.