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Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations? 
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Post Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Hi,

Just for my own curiosity, I have began wondering about the evolution of our "civilization" from prehistory instinctive lifestyle. Is there a book that discusses all the human civilizations in perspective of their evolution till modern civilization? Ideally, the author remains as objective as possible when analyzing the pros and cons of each civilization, including our modern one. Further, a discussion of how each civilization developed our "conscience" that acts like the guardian at the gate to prevent the instinctual passions from wreaking much havoc on the world would be welcome.

Can anyone think of a book?

Thank you!

-srid



Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:28 pm
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
"The Story of Civilization" Will and Ariel Durant 11 volumes. I haven't read it and it is not without criticism but it is probably the most definitive work on what you are asking for. I

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_Civilization

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Civilizatio ... -2-catcorr

For something a bit more manageable, I was thoroughly engrossed with Jared Diamond's "Guns Germs and Steel."

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel- ... 848&sr=1-1

I haven't read it but I have always meant to Jacob Bronowski's "Ascent Of Man"

http://www.amazon.com/Ascent-Man-Jacob- ... 952&sr=1-1

Some of Daniel J. Boorstin's books:

http://www.amazon.com/Discoverers-Histo ... 017&sr=1-2

You are whetting my appetite for things that I should have read!


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Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:17 pm
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Our current non fiction selection The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas is very much on these themes.



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Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:01 pm
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Thanks for the recommendation. I had noticed the book when I first signed up but forgot about it. I think I am going to order it , although I am disappointed it is not available in Kindle.

http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Western-M ... pd_sim_b_1

Have your read his later book "Cosmos & Psyche"? It sounds a little bizarre and of course that is available on Kindle!

http://www.amazon.com/Cosmos-Psyche-Int ... 455&sr=1-2


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“Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” W. B. Yeats

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

"In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time." Edward P. Tryon


Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:53 pm
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Veneer wrote:
Thanks for the recommendation. I had noticed the book when I first signed up but forgot about it. I think I am going to order it , although I am disappointed it is not available in Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Western-M ... pd_sim_b_1 Have your read his later book "Cosmos & Psyche"? It sounds a little bizarre and of course that is available on Kindle! http://www.amazon.com/Cosmos-Psyche-Int ... 455&sr=1-2
Veneer, I read Cosmos and Psyche before I read Passion of the Western Mind. My interest in Cosmos and Psyche was in the claim that Tarnas provides an empirical argument in support of astrology. Tarnas argues that the cycles of the outer planets have a detectable resonance on the earth. He restricts his astrological argument to this point about the outer planets, making no mention of sun signs. It is an intriguing and scientifically possible claim, and far better than most astrology, which tends towards intuitive speculation without evidence or logic.

The real weakness of Cosmos and Psyche is that if the planetary effects he describes do exist, they are extremely weak, given that they have not been detected by objective statistical analysis. However, Tarnas' method is anecdotal, for example arguing that the greatest scientific geniuses all have Sun-Uranus aspects in their birth charts, and therefore Uranus has an empirical link to innovation on earth. While this claim is possible, it is far from persuasive or compelling, in the absence of replicable statistical data, and indicates he is pushing a belief rather than reporting on objective findings. Tarnas says his findings about planetary effects are compelling, using this term in a way that is inconsistent with normal scientific usage.

His evidence is fascinating, but is entirely anecdotal and cherry-picked, rather than systematic, so does not prove his conclusions. My view remains that systematic study of planetary effects is highly likely to detect astrological regularities, but that these effects are so weak, and so swamped by terrestrial factors, that very large datasets will be needed. To date no one has provided the resources for systematic astrological research together with a robust research methodology, except Michel Gauquelin, the French scientist who proved some effects. Most scientific studies of astrology start with the agenda of debunking pseudo-science, and suffer from bias and inadequacy in their research methods. Claims that astrology has been disproved are ideological.

Tarnas is a serious and coherent thinker, but his stance in favour of astrology means his claims are tainted by a woo-woo advocacy of unproven speculation. More caveats about the weakness of his research method would have made Cosmos and Psyche a better book, but if you are already open to the claims of planetary aspect and transit theory, such as the interpretations made in Planets in Transit by Robert Hand, Cosmos and Psyche is full of intriguing anecdotal support. A few years ago I discussed Cosmos and Psyche at bautforum.com



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Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:05 am
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Robert, thank you for the well balanced report on Cosmos and Psyche. Unfortunately I am not very open minded about astrology, and alas really have no interest in becoming open minded about it. Let's put it this way, I believe that astrology can affect your fates...if you believe in astrology and let it affect your fates. Self fulfilling prophecy. Otherwise I believe it to be pure bunk and not worthy of scientific study. Forgive me if I seem harsh in my attitude. A newspaper column telling an Aries that they will meet someone interesting is quite harmless entertainment. But when astrology is used as a basis for important decisions by either individuals or a society, then rational thought is being replaced by superstition. Life is short, one has to pick their battles, and astrology is beyond my credibility. I suppose I maintain a high level of bias that you mentioned.

Having said that however, I must confess a certain intrigue with two aspects. One) Tarnas is no dummy and he wrote it. Two) Tulip is no dummy and he read it.

Regarding the Sun-Uranus aspects of the greatest scientific thinkers, I am prepared to make an astrological prediction. Considering famous and highly successful American scientists and mathematicians born in the past 80 years, I make the following astrological predictions. 1) There will be a preponderance of individuals born under Capricorn and Aquarius. 2) There will be a dearth of individuals born under Sagittarius. 3) There will be a few curious Capricorns who are bright but didn't become famous. So does the Sea Goat and the Water Bearer look favorably on their charges? Do gravitons from Deneb Algedi or Sadalsuud build stronger synaptic junctions?

Or could it be that two very bright fourth graders are taking advanced placement tests for one seat in an advanced science class. One is born in January, the other born in December. The Capricorn gets a 97% the Sagittarius gets a 92%. Score one for Capricorns. Is it gravitons or the fact that Mary is 11 months older the Jenny?

Now next year when Mary and Jenny take the placement test, Mary has a huge jump on Jenny, because while Jenny was learning that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth, Mary was learning that because of the temperature and density found at the core of the sun hydrogen atoms fuse to form helium atoms and huge amounts of energy are liberated.

So my prediction is that in a meritocracy, you are going to find the preponderance of slots filled by the oldest competitors in the group.

I would like to take credit for this, but alas I am too dumb (despite being an almost smart Aries). I read this in Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers", although Gladwell didn't get cute with the astrology. If I remember correctly Canadian hockey players are Capricorns and American baseball players are Cancers. But American basketball players are a mix. Basketball apparently is not as relegated to grooming. Street kids have a better chance in basketball.

Again thank you for your objective post, I appreciate your time.


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“Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” W. B. Yeats

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

"In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time." Edward P. Tryon


Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 am
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Astrology? Heh. Reminds me reality vs actuality (or "Truth" vs fact): http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/truth.htm | http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/fact.htm

And thanks for the recommendations; I'll look into them soon.

-srid



Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:32 am
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
srid, if you are like me and find astrology a bit over the top, don't let that influence your decision on the "Passion of the Western Mind". From what I read it is widely used as a text book in many college courses because it is rather comprehensive yet in a manageable volume...unlike Will and Ariel Durant's work.


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“Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” W. B. Yeats

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

"In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time." Edward P. Tryon


Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:41 am
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Post Re: Recommendation for a book on the history of human civilizations?
Discussion on Cosmos and Psyche continued at cosmos-and-psyche-t8306.html



Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:33 pm
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