Is learning the history of ideas relevant to today's world?
In short, yes. Imagine yourself planning a party. You begin writing down a list to have the most amazing party ever, complete with all the details. Now your goal is to create the party, and have a great one; but let's say something happens and the party is cancelled. Fast foward 20 years. You've moved on with life: you've got a spouse, kids, a house, a job, and are otherwise moving foward with what you have to do in life. Then, you find this list. You are wondering why "tablecoth", "apples", "extra pants", and various other non-sequential items are on the list. Now, let's bring this all together. Unless the person (or even yourself) that finds the list also understands that it was the list to the most epic party ever; the ideas (items) seem out of place, out of line, out of reason. We must understand how ideas were born in order to truely understand how they were to be used. Another modern example. Today, we argue over the second ammendment: the right to keep and bare arms. The reason there is much confusion, is because many are not convinced of the BIRTHPLACE or REASON of this idea. Was it only applying to muskets and therefor not our modern weaponry? Was it only to be relevant in a society that lived under the threat of another British led invasion? We argue over these very topics, because we don't know the "history of the idea".