Historical research has failed to illuminate the patterns of history so that everyone may utilize the significant lessons of the past. People thus see no meaning in the past and are ignorant of their heritage. This isolates them in the present without an historical or a future context. The past needs to be viewed in such a way that people can understand who they are now and how best to move into the future.
Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward (Kierkegaard).
In any given set of circumstances, the proper course of action is determined by subsequent events.