World History Final Portfolio 2014 Schwingel-Sauer


When looking back through all of the journal entries I wrote, I reflected on all of the units we learned. Throughout the year I have gained perspective and insight on many topics that delved into our world’s history. Every page of my journal had my thoughts and opinions and it was awesome to rediscover them. One journal in particular had us write down what we thought should be taught in a world history class, or what was worth learning. I came to a conclusion. History does not matter, unless we learn from it. The past shapes people, societies, countries into what they are. If you do not learn from the past however, you will not progress or advance. World History has shown patterns in religion, systems, countries, violence, and culture. 

Across the world religion serves as a structure, identity, and tool of manipulation. People use religion to structure their lives. People also rely on their religion to give them morals, values, and a purpose to their lives. Many people use religion as their identity. People find meaning in their life through religion. When comparing quotes about religion I said, “Religion takes control of people. People act through their veil of religion. You live through your religion. You are your religion. Religion is a tool of power and manipulation.” (Journal #11) Religion is corrupted by people who manipulate it and use it as a tool of power. Individuals put blind faith into their religions and are a pawn in controlling politics and society. Religion in the past has been thought of for more underdeveloped societies, but it is still very prominent in everyone's day to day life. Responding to the idea of less religion equals more advancement I said,“I agree with the statement that theoretically more "advanced" people wouldn't need religion as a source of guidance or faith. When I say advanced I don't necessarily mean intelligence wise. I mean more in almost a sense of mental health. That you can come up with your own morals and values because you have a sense of what the "right" thing to do is instinctually; not because someone/something in your religion is telling you so. That those without religious beliefs can have faith in themselves rather than a god or holy force/power. For example they can believe in themselves that they will get a big promotion and it will be because of their hard work rather than God has answered their prayers and given them the job. Almost like that not having a religion means you're more self assured and confident in your everyday life.” (Battle for God Assignment) Through this world history classes’ teachings the main issue when it comes to religion, is that multiple religions cannot live in harmony. There is never various religious people together without violence. We need to learn how to cope with others’ views as long as they are not hurting others. We need to learn to accept opinions that are not ours. 

Everyone is a part of multiple systems. In every system there are leaders and people in positions of power. In this world history course we studied revolutions and how they impact communities. We looked at how violence changed the outcome of an uprising and studied its effects. We looked at the process of a revolution; how they started, plans of actions, how/and if they ended. One fatal flaw commonly seen across many revolutions was the goal of change. Many sought to   kill or overthrow the leaders of these systems. While the leaders were certainly not contributing positively, the fault lies within the system. The system is corrupt, and you can change the leader however many times you want, but you will only truly succeed when you change the system with the injustices. When studying the French and Haitian revolutions I concluded the unit by saying,“The goal needs to be to change the system, not the leader.” (French & Haitian Written Response)

It is no secret that most of today’s modern societies are money centric. Success and and power are defined by money. Therefore when a country is without money, countries succeeding in our money centric society feel the need to intervene. Transnational companies dominate poor countries and take over their resources and people. When in fact, these ‘poor’ countries were doing just fine. By inserting corrupt values and businesses into these countries we kill their economies and essentially their people. What needs to be learned is that a country that is struggling does not benefit from outside help. In order for a country to succeed it needs to be self sufficient. By depending on other countries for money, it will never be fully independent. In response to learning about countries that are struggling, I said, “One could argue that poor countries need money to survive, but that is only what our money fueled society has spewed at countries who are economically doing terribly. When poor countries allow transnational companies to give them investments, they are sabotaging themselves. Progression in a country has to come from within, and by using outside help, countries become dependent on this outside help and end up creating awful circumstances for their people.” (Auction Follow Up)

Violence is a theme that continually is shown throughout world history. Very few people have fully embraced the nonviolent approach to wrongs. Violence only kills and harms. Normally violence is used in an uprising in a form of protest against the upper hand. The people with the power will not hesitate to use resources against the people who act out in violence in a heartbeat. While looking at colonialism, there were various methods of how to resist being colonized and the nonviolent way proved very helpful in India with Gandhi. Now since some of the world has learned how to peacefully succeed, everyone must continue to learn from this example. When each student had to make a digital revolution, I said, “It is easy to resort to injuring and killing. The fact of the matter is that the people starting the revolution are upset because something is unjust or unequal. The higher power of the revolution, the “bad” guys, will most likely have more resources, so using violence will only raise the number of deaths, and will not change anything.” (Digital Revolution BM)

The entire essence of our beings is ultimately our culture. Our identity is found through our culture; our upbringing. When Europeans colonized many countries they forced their beliefs and government on others, stripping them of who they were. The people being colonized were required to stop praying to their gods, to stop wearing their own clothes, to stop mining their resources. When reflecting I said, “Dead culture = dead people.” (Journal #49)

There were many invaluable lessons that I have learned during the course of this year. I have learned to keep an open mind and to embrace others’ ideas. I learned about the past of our world so that now, and in the future, I can learn from the past and progress.