In today’s interview, I got the chance to hit up another awesome history enthusiast. Caleb, creator of Days of History on Instagram and Facebook, posts history content daily, talking about people, places, and events in the realm of world history. Read along below to learn his story:
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Caleb and I currently live in the American Midwest. While I am not big on talking about myself, my spare time usually consists of reading both history and fantasy books (though mainly history) as well as performing Improvisational Comedy in the surrounding areas. I also enjoy film editing, editing videos both personally and commercially, as several of my previous jobs have involved film production.
What inspired you to start Days of History?
What personally inspired me was a combination of events, so to say. I had been on Instagram for about a year personally and due to my interest in history, I followed a multitude of pages. Through the year or so I had been on Instagram, I had truly seen the best and worst of how to run history accounts, and accounts in general.
I realized after seeing what worked and what didn’t, I could combine all that I saw and create an account for myself. I was also looking for an outlet that I could share my passion for history with, and Instagram was (and so far still is) the perfect place to do so. So, with the combination of those events, I started Days of History in June of 2015.
How important is history in today’s age?
I believe, and know, that history is of the utmost importance, especially today. History has an effect on everything we know and do today, whether we like it or not. Especially today, when we have almost infinite resources when it comes to accessing history. From what I’ve observed, there seems to be a general lack of interest and ignorance towards history nowadays – and it shows.
Many times people will make arguments by pulling something in history completely out of context, skewing history to fit a specific narrative. And I don’t think that’s because of a person being unintelligent, just their lack of taking the time to actually look into and researching the history of the topic they are so interested in. I always try to encourage others around me to study history in any way possible because even one fact can change an entire worldview.
A big part of Chronicles of Fitness is to bring across the idea that learning history builds the transferable skills of empathy. In your opinion, how would you describe that relationship?
All of history is written from a point of view (or several). By reading history, you are usually submerged in another’s point of view at a set point in history, forcing you to view the world in which the writer did/does. You get used to seeing situations from a different point of view, feeling the way the writer does, even if it is as objective as possible.
The more a person reads history, the more empathetic that person becomes as a result, I would argue. Every human has some level of empathy, though it only increases as you read history. Many times history is messy, with multiple historians writing on the same events, but with competing details. It forces the reader (if they are open) to viewing each side objectively as possible and reaching a conclusion, which is hopefully the truth.
I know you cover all eras, but what is your personal favorite and why?
My favorite period is by far the Ancient Period [typically seen as beginning of recorded history to the early medieval period]. I have always had a fascination with the Ancients, more specifically the Romans. I find it extremely interesting that today we can look into lives of people, just like us, who lived thousands of years ago in a completely different world.
I have always thoroughly enjoyed reading how each different culture viewed the world and their neighbors, and how that affected how they ruled, what they built and who they fought. What makes the Ancient period even more interesting is that it seems almost every day we discover new information on this era due to technological advances and the like, which makes studying the Ancient Period the perfect time to do so (besides actually being there).
Agreed, have you heard about a recent finding of a new early-history village here in Canada?
I cannot say I have heard of that, though it’s fantastic! It also is a great example of what I said earlier – these new discoveries have given us an insight on ancient North America in so many different areas and it would not have been able to happen if we would not have had the technology we do today! Absolutely great and thank you for sharing.
You recently made a post on Instagram by Gustav Mahler which goes,”Tradition is not the worship of ashes but the preservation of a fire.” Could you share with us a bit about the saying and your page?
“Tradition is not the worship of ashes but the preservation of a fire”, a quote that relates a lot to what I said earlier, and a subject I am particularly passionate about. I am a large believer in tradition, though I do not believe it should go unquestioned (in a non-rebellious way).
Tradition is usually seen as a negative thing, an archaic way of oppressing a certain people or regulating something purely out of dislike for it, leading to people generations later rebelling because their (or someone else’s) tradition seeming to be absurd and lacking reason. There is tradition like that out there, I will not argue that, though 90% of the time tradition is well meaning, built to help protect people, rather than oppress them.
Today, that quote means more to me, as tradition can be applied to almost anything that has been done for more than one generation, and I now replace “Tradition” with “History”. As I talked about earlier, many of the people I have run into or observed seem to have a general dislike towards history because it is “boring”, “stupid” or just “useless”.
All of those reasons are lacking in reason, as studying history only benefits someone. You learn to see and identify connections and trends. You learn mistakes that leaders and people groups have made in the past and how it could have been prevented. The list goes on.
The point is that the general public, as I have observed, don’t seem to enjoy history today. If I can change one person’s mind on that, I will count that as a victory. Days of History started out just as an outlet to express my burden for history but now has become so much more. While sharing my love for history is a plus of the page, being able to create a community that genuinely enjoys learning and analyzing history is a great thing, especially today.
With so many outlets in this information age, what advice can you give readers in gathering quality information on history?
I would say to all readers that read multiple sources when it comes to any historical topic. Many times things were (or are) written from a specific perspective or with a motive behind it, and now that we have the resources at the tip of our fingers we have the ability to look at those multiple sources and draw conclusions to hopefully find the truth. Always question what you read and read multiple accounts of the same event that you might reach the truth in said situation.
What’s the future have in store for Days of History? A YouTube channel? Sounds like your background in video editing and production would make for some amazing content in that arena.
The future of the page is looking very exciting. I have been in the process of brainstorming and forming ideas on how to develop the page further the last couple months. I rather not commit to anything on what is coming up next for the page as several ideas are still being developed, but I would be thoroughly surprised if my background in editing did not play a large role in it, though, when an idea has fully been committed to and developed, my followers will be the first to know!
Thank you for taking part in this Caleb. Lastly, is there any words of advice that you have for our readers?
When it comes to advice I would say to the readers to avoid wasting time in your everyday life. A lot of my regrets in life have come out of wasting time (on people, activities, etc) instead of more productive things and I have now come to a point where I have seen an amazing difference in my life by just avoiding the things in my life that are pointless or waste my time in general. Wasting time has a different definition from person to person, though I would say if a certain “thing” will lead to nowhere or not really benefit you in anyway, don’t waste your time it.
Awesome Caleb. Thank you very much for you time.