For this assignment, I chose to watch an episode of America Unearthed. It was about the possibility that Columbus was not the first European to come to America. Before watching it, I was content in my knowledge that Columbus had discovered America. This is what I had been taught in school so it had to be the truth. Right? Not necessarily. According to this program, the Knights Templar may have made this journey before Columbus. I watched as the episode started with a discovery of a Rune stone found in Southern Pennsylvania. It looked like other Rune stones made by the Knights Templar that had been found in other locations. Scott Wolter, a forensic geologist and host of the show, studied it and decided it was a hoax. I have to admit, this made me a little happy. My history lessons were correct; my thinking did not have to change. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As the episode progressed, Scott showed evidence he had discovered during his research that suggested there is still the possibility that Columbus was not the first person to “discover’ America.
When the show ended, I had a lot to think about. If I was open to the idea that the history books were wrong about Columbus discovering America, what else could they be wrong about? Was I going to have to question everything I had learned about history? Should I just accept everything I had been taught on blind faith? Was there a happy medium somewhere? I certainly don’t want to become a conspiracy theorist who thinks everyone lies and is out to get me. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a sheep who is led around blindly either. This brought me to my final answer. There is a happy medium. I am open to the possibility that there may have been some mistakes made in historical information. In fact, there is a good possibility that a lot of information has been left out of our history lessons. After all, records can be lost or destroyed. Stories can be related inaccurately. Not because someone is trying to be deceptive, but because their perspective may not be the same as someone else who is telling the same story. When all the stories from long ago were put together, maybe some of the details were lost or rearranged. I am not sure we will ever know with 100% accuracy, that history is a perfect reconstruction. This also does not mean that the history I have learned is all inaccurate either. It just means that there may be more history out there for us to discover and new things to learn as we journey through life.
This entire assignment has brought me to the conclusion that it is better to be open minded. By doing that, I can respect other people’s perspectives and reach my own conclusions about what I am going to believe. This will help me to be able to learn much more than I would if I was not open to other ideas.