Learn From Yesterday

Gavin Stevens, Staff Writer

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This short but powerful phrase–originally coined by Albert Einstein–can often be seen slapped on the walls of classrooms and offices or on the covers of journals and inspirational greeting cards, or even on t-shirts. But although this nugget of wisdom may seem uncomplicated and rather simplistic, it is anything but. Kings, queens, presidents, and generals alike have all failed to adopt this saying, and humankind has paid the price. So what is it about human nature that compels us toward the same mistakes made by those before us? Is it stubbornness? Arrogance? A lack of empathy? Maybe we’ll never know. One thing is for certain, though. If there is any chance of us learning from the past, then we must try to reflect on it, study it, and discuss it instead of ignoring it or brushing it off as something that doesn’t apply to us anymore. Famous poet William Wordsworth once said, “Life is divided into three terms–that which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit from the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.” So as we begin a new year, full of hopes and surprises, disappointments and successes, let us take these words to heart, and truly learn from the failures of the past make a brighter future for everyone.