Do we care too much for history?

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Let’s check intestine of a mummy rather than an alive sick person

I met quite a few people in my life, who in general would prefer things from the past. In one such case, I was visiting an Italian city with one of my friend. He was my local guide and took me on a tour. It was a beautiful city and the tour was nice with visits to castle, river, city center and some other new and historic places. I noticed, when talking about building or architecture, he would keep praising old buildings, old architecture, old times while at the same time admonishing new architecture. For him the old was beautiful and new was ugly. Old ways of living, old culture, old languages, all is good. I was wondering, with such an attitude, how a person lives on a daily basis! May be they have some special way to separate those thoughts. For me, if I am watching those ugly (new) buildings, restaurants, markets, cafes every day and talking to modernized people, the day would be full of sadness, dullness and depression. I think I can only admire that person to be able to go through life with such a mindset.

Mantua, a nice Italian town

One of my friends mentioned that she is visiting the oldest man in Europe; Ötzi. I had no idea about it and I think I would have never bothered about it as well. Of course, curiosity kills the cat. I immediately jumped to internet and ask google for help. There is tons of information available on the internet and the details about it. I would advise everyone to atleast go through wikipedia if not other sources. In my perspective, some guys found a skeleton and it was so interesting that people spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars to find more and more details about it. Today, we do not just know that it is a skeleton of humans who were living in Europe, but we know a whole lot more about it. We know how he died, what kind of diseases he had, what did he eat 2 hours before he died and even put effort to recreate how he would have looked in his time!

What is it about old times, that make us do “crazy” things like this. What exactly do we expect to gain from that detailed study of a man who died 5000 years ago? It somehow felt ok to perform CAT scans, DNA testing, 3D modeling and so on for this dead body. On the contrary if a living person goes to hospital with some problem, the doctor does not show any kind of curiosity to know details about the patient. The only interest of doctor would seem to be able to find a clue which can get him(her) to advise a pill and move on to the next patient. It is independent of private or government hospitals; just the reasons/motives may be different. In private probably, it is about that USD/minute and in public hospital a simple carelessness to move on to next one. Why do we not have same level of curiosity to find how can we help the people who are alive? Why don’t we find the same level of details to advise what food the living people should eat for better health?

I am sure any researcher may argue that it is important to know the history to understand the present. Is it really the case? If the same scientist propose a theory that evolution is all about a random mistake in DNA replication, then how we put a deterministic model to create such an importance for history. Why do we keep digging earth to find old churches, buildings, cities? In which specific way does it helps us today? In my opinion we create stories based on those stones, those leftovers and then we keep on changing it. Yes, in one way it keeps lot of us busy, occupied on a regular basis. That does helps them to make new homes, buy new pottery and create new coffins. Beyond that what have changed knowing that humans evolved from the same race sometime in history? Did we stop racism with that knowledge? We learned about old wars, did that stop us from creating new ones? We learned how religions, empires and groups raided villages, towns, countries in the past, did that change us in any way?

What does it matter that which skeleton is oldest known in the evolution chain? People hardly talk to their neighbors, hardly tolerate there elders, would probably pass a constipated smile to a person sitting next to in the tram/bus, a person from north of country would detest talking to one from south. Consider a communication between a high German and east European or Englishman with a Scottish? Of course other combinations do not even need any mention. But, we will go in silence in an airplane full of people, in a train guarding ourselves to reach a dead man from 5000 years ago!

I believe it is a good enough reason as to why we consider ourselves special despite saying that on a ground level we are just another animal. Maybe some people find themselves more happy when they find an old skeleton than a stranger on the street. But for me, I prefer to smile when I meet some one, when I pass by someone. Ofcourse some would chose to smile back and some may not, but I know that if I would have smiled to Ötzi, nothing was coming back!

Keep Smiling


Arundeep Singh

A rich farmer had been trying desperately to marry off his daughters. One day he met Mulla Nasrudin. “I have several daughters,” the farmer told the Mulla. “I would like to see them comfortably fixed. And I will say this, they won’t go to their husbands without a little bit in the bank, either. The youngest one is twenty-three and she will take Rupees 25,000 with her. The next one is thirty-two, and she will take Rupees 50,000 with her. Another is forty-three and she will take Rupees 75,000 with her.” “That’s interesting,” said Nasrudin. “I was just wondering if you have one about fifty years old.”