So I have these students, and to these students I am assigning a paper where they write about a specific person from the period we are studying — they get to choose who. This is relatively easy because there is quite a lot of biography from the period we’re studying, and the actions of individuals loom large in our textbook.
And that’s cool, you know. I think the kids like it that way. It’s easy to talk about people. Someone once asked me why I prefer history to science and my answer was that, in the end, it is about humans, who I find more relatable than like cosmic concepts or whatever. Your mileage may vary.
There is, therefore, something we like about monarchies, dictatorships, and so on. They give a country a personality, something it’s otherwise hard to argue it has. We like looking at the development of, say, the English Reformation and knowing that the personal preferences and desires of just one guy played an important role in it.
Nothing wrong with that! I sometimes work through lessons or concepts in my head by imagining that I am talking to some of the people I have studied, explaining things to them, partly in their roles as people who know nothing, but also partly because … I just like them, even when I don’t.
So yeah. It’s fun to imagine the type of world where the personalities of single individuals play a large role in determining the fate of nations. But sometimes — and I am breaking a general rule I have not to talk about modern stuff on this, blog — it is not so fun to live in such a place. Past few weeks, case in point.
Tomorrow I may go back to talking about books.