‘The future post-history’ (poem) & ‘Why history should be mostly abandoned in school’ (statement)


The future post-history

The less disturbed the vision, the freer growing future
Not more than opinionated story from the past
You can even see the limitation of history

And enable for an independent future
Let’s abandon teaching the past
We didn’t learn from history

To our children’s future
To impose our past
We use history

The future
Post hi


Why history should be mostly abandoned in school

Regarding how to live a meaningful and peaceful life, we have not learned from history. Children are by nature not interested in our past. They are interested in their future. Therefore, not only independence and self-realization should be taught at school at any age, but investments in teaching history should be mostly abandoned. Instead of depriving our children of their visions by imposing our history, we should encourage them to shape their future freely.


See also “Why psychology should be taught in every school”: earlier related article: //mathias-sager.com/2017/04/02/why-psychology-should-be-taught-in-every-school/

  • What do you make of Santayana’s assertion that those who do not know history are bound to repeat it?

    I would agree with you that history as it is currently so often taught — chronologically — is fairly worthless. But I can’t agree with you that discarding history would free children in any significant way from the past. At least, I can’t agree based on what little I know of your thinking.

    Good poem, by the way — even though I don’t agree with it.

    • Hi, Paul. Thank you for the comment. Yes, I realized that the message is a bit too absolute without further explanation. Thanks for giving me the occasion to amend a little. Children want to make their experiences by themselves, so we cannot tell them what to learn. But we can help them efficiently learning. Humanity did not learn from history and is still repeating known negative aspects of it, inclusive war, suppression, and destruction. It is the unchanged human attitude (psychology!) that’s causing us to repeat history, not the ignorance of history itself. In the minimum, we should link historical events consequently as outcomes from human behavior. Of course, there is a biopsychosocial component. However, today history in school is neglecting the psychological factor and is too much politicized. Politicians who know history only from books are being guided by old feuds, using history to legitimize otherwise indefensible claims. Like on individual level, one of the most difficult, but also most healing things we can do is to forgive. To forgive is (to some degree) also to forget the past. Let me use a further analogy from psychotherapy and coaching. While therapy is attempting to understand and resolve past problems, coaching is more consequently forward-looking in its approach to realize one’s goals and overcome possible road blocks on that journey. Rather than to learn established rules to follow, I think many bygone guidelines should be de-learned, so we are free from our past and open for an ever better future.

    • But you also say “love it NOW” now, and not the past:-). I will differentiate the idea in a bit more detail soon because taken as an absolute it is of course too radical. See also one of the comment replies that started to further explain. Many thanks for your appreciated comment!

      • ?you got me?, but by “love it now” I mean that the now is the only real thing – the past and the future don’t exist (except in the mind). The history is a story of the past and I loved to read this story because it was attracting me. But I don’t know if it had any influence on my development (besides some interesting facts or wise expressions). That’s why I find your theory interesting but I’d have to think it over ?, have a nice day!

      • Of course, I understand:-). But history is part of culture and social learning and that’s very influential for our development. If the history of the Middle East was forgotten, the conflict would be gone too (as a further simplistic example). I wish you a nice day too! Thx

      • Ok, I understand now what is your point. And Yes- the M.E. conflict- maybe it would be gone too… but it’s like with collective traumas – societies, nations have their own traumas which reside in the subconscious of individuals and as long as they are not cured they influence the thinking and acting of those individuals/ nations. Maybe if humanity could be cured collectively the need to teach history would disappear by itself?

      • That’s a great thought, thanks! The inversion your argument could, again:-), be that reducing teaching history would be part of the collective healing process you mention.

  • Mixed emotions after reading this. History, at least in the text books I studied, is unending war. Seen one, seen them all. So I agree with you in that respect. I also think teaching psychology, nutrition, all of the arts and even every-day ways of getting through life with the least amount of trauma would benefit children much more than being bombarded by war. Wonderful post/poem!

    • Thanks for your helpful feedback and examples! Of course, like your emotions, the approach best would be mixed. In any case, we should learn from history, but not refer to it to justify committing the same mistakes over and over again, which in my eyes is especially also an international political malpractice.