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The roles of language and reason in history

Updated on October 16, 2012

History is social science that studies past of human societies all the way from the beginning till now. Since history records every event that happened in past, every nation has its history. Nation without history is like man without memories. People not only learn about past from history, but also about present and can predict events in future, from history logs. The language is main tool for keeping and reading history. And without reason, some main events that happened in past, probably wouldn't be recorded. Historians use many sources such as written records, oral (transferred from men to men) and archaeological findings. Written records and archaeological findings are most reliable, while oral source is accepted only if there are no hard evidences about that event (record in past). In this essay I will write about role of language and reason in history.

Language is the main communication tool used by humans. It is formed of wide set of letters which form words with which people communicate with others. There are a lot of languages which are in use today. Some of them were used, but now people decode them only to read their history. As I already mentioned, there are many languages, but all have the same purpose – they are used by humans to express them selves, and to share knowledge Also they are used to record history, so people in future could read it. Now, it's hard to imagine life without language, since it is a big part of everyone's life. And basically everything would be different without it. People wouldn't be able to share their experience and knowledge – so term schools and learning wouldn't exist. Also, since history is written in some language, without it, history probably wouldn't be written at all – so we wouldn't know about our past, what happened before us. And communication among people would be impossible People probably wouldn't be social beings as they are now. So everything would be different.

Role of language in history is of great importance. Language helped people a lot. Since first groups of people were being formed, they had their way of communication. At first it was communication trough some signs, but later language developed, which is still in use. Trough years language improved, and today some average language has hundred thousands of words, and every human learns to speak till age of 3. The most important use of language is transfer of knowledge and experience from human to human, for example people could learn from others' mistakes, not to make them. If there was no language, every man would need to explore, investigate and research for them selves, and at the end of their life they would have some knowledge, some discoveries some inventions which would die with them because there is no way to transfer i to other people. So basically people wouldn't develop at all, they would be in beginning phase, still living in caves.

Reason is main thing that separates humans from animals. And currently, humans are only living beings who are reasonable. Because of our reason, humans „rule“ the world. Because of the reason, humans think. Also humans make decisions on account of reason, therefore reason is responsible for any right or wrong decision, some human made. While animals, for example, don't have reason, and do everything on account of their instinct So if some animal does something wrong, we can't blame it for that, because it didn't really do it by intention, but because its instincts said to. In humans' case, it is bit different. Humans know what they're doing, and everything they do, they previously decided to do. Because of that, we can blame people for things they did wrong (and we are, by all sorts of punishments). But, beside all bad things humans can do intentionally, there are things humans do which are good, and for which humans should (and are) be awarded. Also, reason is responsible for many agreements (good or bad) that are made, between humans and even nations.

Beside all good things (which there are more), there are few bad things about language and reason in history. There are few bad things about language, but most notable is lying. People lie every day. They lie because of many reasons, but in general that is bad. And by lying, people can manipulate with other people, by telling them some things which are not completely true, and which are nice to hear. Also by language manipulation, people can trick other people, usually to take their money, or something in connection to it. Also, there are words in every language which are offensive, such as 'nigger' which should not be told. They were made up, just to ease ones need to express his/her anger through language, and if possible offend someone else. Beside bad things about language, there are people who have bad reasons. Usually, people are reasonable beings, and are aware of things which are good, and of things which are bad, and on account of that they act properly – meaning, trying to do good things, and avoid doing bad things. Most of human population acts like that, but still, there are people who (in my opinion are (bit) unreasonable. They are unreasonable because they know about good and bad things, but they are still doing bad things (for many reasons, mostly it's easier to get what they want). For example, Adolf Hitler was unreasonable person. He knew what he's doing (killing millions of people, destroying cities and many more), but he kept doing it until the very end – his death. But again, there are people who are mentally sick, and are unreasonable because of that, and those people shouldn't be punished for anything bad they do, since they are not completely aware of what they're doing – they just need to be kept away from possibility to do something bad.

In conclusion I can say that, beside all bad things which happened (and can happen), sourcing from language and reason, all good things that happened thanks to language and human reason are more valuable, so language and reason are positive human characteristics. As I already mentioned, life would be completely different without language and reason, people basically wouldn't have their history and would need to learn every day all the way from the beginning and probably would act like animals – doing just what their instinct tells them to.


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    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      You give a good account of the uses and abuses of language here as well as outlining it's place in history. Thanks for sharing this hub.