22 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2022
    1. There was no awareness that any kind of coherent history of the periods before the development of writing was possible at all. In the words of the Danish scholar Rasmus Nyerup (1759–1829): Everything which has come down to us from heathen-dom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time which we cannot measure. We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millennium, we can do no more than guess.

      This is particularly interesting in light of the research of Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell who within about 50 years dramatically changed the viewpoint of history.


      Orality has something to say about this now too...

  2. Sep 2022
  3. Aug 2022
    1. On the Internet there are many collective projects where users interact only by modifying local parts of their shared virtual environment. Wikipedia is an example of this.[17][18] The massive structure of information available in a wiki,[19] or an open source software project such as the FreeBSD kernel[19] could be compared to a termite nest; one initial user leaves a seed of an idea (a mudball) which attracts other users who then build upon and modify this initial concept, eventually constructing an elaborate structure of connected thoughts.[20][21]

      Just as eusocial creatures like termites create pheromone infused mudballs which evolve into pillars, arches, chambers, etc., a single individual can maintain a collection of notes (a commonplace book, a zettelkasten) which contains memetic seeds of ideas (highly interesting to at least themselves). Working with this collection over time and continuing to add to it, modify it, link to it, and expand it will create a complex living community of thoughts and ideas.

      Over time this complexity involves to create new ideas, new structures, new insights.

      Allowing this pattern to move from a single person and note collection to multiple people and multiple collections will tend to compound this effect and accelerate it, particularly with digital tools and modern high speed communication methods.

      (Naturally the key is to prevent outside selfish interests from co-opting this behavior, eg. corporate social media.)

  4. Jun 2022
    1. Harness collective intelligence augmented by digital technology, and unlock exponential innovation. Beyond old hierarchical structures and archaic tools.

      https://twitter.com/augmented_CI

      The words "beyond", "hierarchical", and "archaic" are all designed to marginalize prior thought and tools which all work, and are likely upon which this broader idea is built. This is a potentially toxic means of creating "power over" this prior art rather than a more open spirit of "power with".

  5. Apr 2022
    1. Humans’ tendency to“overimitate”—to reproduce even the gratuitous elements of another’s behavior—may operate on a copy now, understand later basis. After all, there might begood reasons for such steps that the novice does not yet grasp, especially sinceso many human tools and practices are “cognitively opaque”: not self-explanatory on their face. Even if there doesn’t turn out to be a functionalrationale for the actions taken, imitating the customs of one’s culture is a smartmove for a highly social species like our own.

      Is this responsible for some of the "group think" seen in the Republican party and the political right? Imitation of bad or counter-intuitive actions outweights scientifically proven better actions? Examples: anti-vaxxers and coronavirus no-masker behaviors? (Some of this may also be about or even entangled with George Lakoff's (?) tribal identity theories relating to "people like me".

      Explore this area more deeply.

      Another contributing factor for this effect may be the small-town effect as most Republican party members are in the countryside (as opposed to the larger cities which tend to be more Democratic). City dwellers are more likely to be more insular in their interpersonal relations whereas country dwellers may have more social ties to other people and groups and therefor make them more tribal in their social interrelationships. Can I find data to back up this claim?

      How does link to the thesis put forward by Joseph Henrich in The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous? Does Henrich have data about city dwellers to back up my claim above?

      What does this tension have to do with the increasing (and potentially evolutionary) propensity of humans to live in ever-increasingly larger and more dense cities versus maintaining their smaller historic numbers prior to the pre-agricultural timeperiod?

      What are the biological effects on human evolution as a result of these cultural pressures? Certainly our cultural evolution is effecting our biological evolution?

      What about the effects of communication media on our cultural and biological evolution? Memes, orality versus literacy, film, radio, television, etc.? Can we tease out these effects within the socio-politico-cultural sphere on the greater span of humanity? Can we find breaks, signs, or symptoms at the border of mass agriculture?


      total aside, though related to evolution: link hypercycles to evolution spirals?

  6. Jan 2022
    1. https://www.noemamag.com/the-other-invisible-hand/?utm_source=indieweb&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=indieweb

      Raw capitalism mimics the logic of cancer within our body politic.


      Folks who have been reading David Wengrow and David Graeber's The Dawn of Everything are sure to appreciate the sentiment here which pulls in the ideas of biology and evolution to expand on their account and makes it a much more big history sort of thesis.

  7. Nov 2021
    1. That's a picture of it in the background. And this organism has the special trick that we call "photosynthesis," the ability to go take energy from the sun and transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. And over the course of billions of years, so starting from two and a half billion years ago, little by little these bacteria spread across the planet 00:07:08 and converted all that carbon dioxide in the air into the oxygen that we now have. And it was a very slow process. First, they had to saturate the seas, then they had to saturate the oxygen that the earth would absorb, and only then, finally, could oxygen begin to build up in the atmosphere. So you see, just after about 900 million years ago, oxygen starts to build up in the atmosphere. And about 600 million years ago, something really amazing happens. 00:07:35 The ozone layer forms from the oxygen that has been released in the atmosphere. And it sounds like a small deal, like we talked about the ozone a couple decades ago, but it actually turns out that before the ozone layer existed, earth was not really able to sustain complex, multicellular life. We had single-celled organisms, we had a couple of simple, multicellular organisms, but we didn't really have anything like you or me. 00:07:59 And shortly after the ozone layer came into place, the earth was able to sustain complex multicellular life. There was a Cambrian explosion of life in the seas. And the first plants got onto land. In fact, there was actually no life on land ahead of that. Another way to see this is, this is kind of a chart of pretty much most of the animals that you guys are familiar with. 00:08:24 And right at the bottom in time is the formation of the ozone layer. Like nothing that you are familiar with today could exist without the contributions of these tiny organisms over those billions of years. And where are they now? Well actually, they never really left us. The direct descendants of the cyanobacteria were eventually captured by plants. And they're now called chloroplasts. 00:08:49 So this is a zoom-in of a plant leaf - and we probably ate some of these guys today - where tons of little chloroplasts are still trapped - contributing photosynthesis and making energy for the plants that continue to be the other half of our lungs on earth. And in this way, our breaths are very deeply united. Every out-breath is mirrored by the in-breath of a plant,

      This would be nice to turn into a science lesson or to represent this in an experiential, participatory Deep Humanity BEing Journey. To do this, it would be important to elucidate the series of steps leading from one stated result to the next, showing how scientific methodology works to link the series of interconnected ideas together. Especially important is the science that glues everything together over deep time.

    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/historians-reaction-to-history-of

      Interesting to watch Dan Allosso watch this video and see which parts he responded to.

      There are definitely some nice stopping off points in this overview which may make for some useful research for viewers. It also highlights in its negative spaces and non sequiturs areas which need more research and study to be better understood by historians.

    1. e.g. Idea from Yuval Harari’s Sapiens that Europe and Asia developed better civilisation than Americas because Americas span vertically lot of climates making it harder to share agriculture progress between different climates.

      Apparently Yuval Harari didn't footnote very well as this idea is directly from Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel which predated Harari's book.

  8. Sep 2021
    1. The minds of other people can also supplement our limited individual memory. Daniel Wegner, a psychologist at Harvard, named this collective remembering “transactive memory.” As he explained it, “Nobody remembers everything. Instead, each of us in a couple or group remembers some things personally — and then can remember much more by knowing who else might know what we don’t.” A transactive memory system can effectively multiply the amount of information to which an individual has access. Organizational research has found that groups that build a strong transactive memory structure — in which all members of the team have a clear and accurate sense of what their teammates know — perform better than groups for which that structure is less defined.

      Transactive memory is how a group encodes, stores, and shares knowledge. Members of a group may be aware of the portions of knowledge that others possess which can make them more efficient.

      How can we link this to Cesar Hidalgo's ideas about the personbyte, etc.?

      How would this idea have potentially helped oral cultures?

      She uses the example of a trauma resuscitation team helping to shorten hospital stays, but certainly there are many examples in the corporate world where corporate knowledge is helpful in decreasing time scales for particular outcomes.

    1. Scott Sampson has argued that we should subjectify nature rather than objectifying it. People are a part of nature and integral to it. We are not separate from it and we are assuredly not above it.

      Can the injection of multi-disciplinary research and areas like big history help us to see the bigger picture? How have indigenous and oral cultures managed to do so much better than us at this? Is it the way we've done science in the past? Is it our political structures?

  9. Jun 2021
    1. The mechanical clock, which came into common use in the 14th century, provides a compelling example. In Technics and Civilization, the historian and cultural critic Lewis Mumford  described how the clock “disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences.” The “abstract framework of divided time” became “the point of reference for both action and thought.”

      Description of how a technology the clock changed the human landscape.

      Similar to the way humans might practice terraforming on their natural environment, what should we call the effect our natural environment has on us?

      What should we call the effect our technological environment has on us? technoforming?

      Evolution certainly indicates that there's likely both short and long-term effects.

      Who else has done research into this? Do we have evidence of massive changes with the advent of writing, reading, printing, telegraph, television, social media, or other technologies available?

      Any relation to the nature vs nurture debate?

  10. Mar 2021
    1. Promoting the idea of a more inclusive calendar that marks the rise of humanity as the year zero, so that we have a better overall view of human progress.

      Uses the idea of HE (human era) instead of BCE, CE, etc.

    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Murray Adcock</span> in theAdhocracy (<time class='dt-published'>03/15/2021 16:10:45</time>)</cite></small>

  11. Oct 2020
    1. I enjoyed Harari’s application of meme theory to the agrarian revolution of circa 10,000 BCE: it may have seemed like a giant leap for mankind, but imagine if you are wheat. As a species, you have conquered the world. Come on and harvest me! I will just spread further.

      I wonder if he credits this idea elsewhere. I've heard this exact type of argument about corn before in the past. (Perhaps Jared Diamond or David Christian? Possibly via Richard Dawkins, though less likely.)

    2. big histories

      I'm a bit curious what exactly he means by big histories here? Is it an implicit reference to the area of Big History as defined by D. Christian et al.?

    3. Big History

      Berlinski's definition seems more concrete and he even capitalizes it here.

      After checking some references it appears that in his Godzooks article Berlinski explicitly references several Big History texts.

    1. For the first half of the twentieth century, the notoriety of Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes and Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History persuaded serious historians not to go there or do that.

      some interesting references to take a look at for these particular admonishments

    1. History is somersaults all the way to the end. That’s why it’s so hard to write, and so hard to predict. Unless you’re lucky. ♦

      This is definitely more of a Big History approach...