Via Kottke: One of the best lists I’ve seen compiled on why we study history, and some of them are certainly why I find it to be so fascinating. For instance:

(3.) The past is analogue: a contemporary issue or problem resembles some past issue or problem; the historical example has just enough distance from our own situation that we understand ourselves better. Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror; Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods.