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The shape of history

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MadArchitect

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The shape of history

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In some outside reading I've been doing, I was struck by the different views of history that have influenced people in the past. So I thought I'd ask a kind of personal philsophical question and see what sort of diversity we came up with.What shape do you think history of humanity takes?Hopefully you can get a sense of what I mean from that by a few examples:-- Is human history cyclical, going through regular phases but always returning to a state that is, in essence, the same?-- Is human history linear, progressing from one raw, crude state and progressing inevitably, though with twists and turns along the way, to a given end point?-- Is human history amorphous, leading to no particular end but progressing by a series of branches to any number of potential futures?-- Is human history static, changing only in particulars but staying generally the same from one age to the next?
Saint Gasoline

Re: The shape of history

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I'm no Hegelian, and even less an Eastern mystic, so I suppose the "amorphous" historical route matches my views best.
Asana Bodhitharta

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Quote:What shape do you think history of humanity takes?Hopefully you can get a sense of what I mean from that by a few examples:-- Is human history cyclical, going through regular phases but always returning to a state that is, in essence, the same?-- Is human history linear, progressing from one raw, crude state and progressing inevitably, though with twists and turns along the way, to a given end point?-- Is human history amorphous, leading to no particular end but progressing by a series of branches to any number of potential futures?-- Is human history static, changing only in particulars but staying generally the same from one age to the next? Actually, I think it is possible for all those ways to be occurring simultaneously. I think there is generally static aspect that lends normalcy to what it means to be human. Individuals tend to move about in cycles. The sense of freedom we have has an amorphous quality allowing us to break out of the cycles. Finally it all moves in a linear way with its twists and turns which makes us "think" the static has changed.By the way your last few topics were really great posts.
MadArchitect

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Re: The shape of history

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Thanks, Asana. One thing that still interests me, though, is why you and Gasoline settled on those views of history.
Asana Bodhitharta

Re: The shape of history

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Quote:Thanks, Asana. One thing that still interests me, though, is why you and Gasoline settled on those views of history. I'm not sure on how to answer your question
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Dissident Heart

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Vanishing History

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I'm not entirely sure what I believe regarding the shape of the history of humanity. I think belief is the right term, considering how much of the whole history of humanity is unavailable to my observation...there is simply so much we don't know about it.I mean, imagine a series of concentric circles. The outer circle including everything that has ever happened, everywhere. Then consider a much smaller circle consisting of everything that has ever involved humanity. Then consider a much smaller circle, consisting of everything human that has been observed or captured in some form of communication; say as text or object. Then consider an even smaller circle inside of that consisting of all that has been human, captured in text or object, and survived the ravages of time. Then consider an even smaller circle consisting of all that has been human, captured as text or object, survived the ravages of time, and is reliable and not a hoax or false representation. Then consider another circle inside of that consisting of all that is human, captured in text or object, surviving the ravages of time, can be trusted and reliable, and is decipherable or translatable. Then consider an even smaller circle inside of that that consists of the interests and agendas of the particular historian: their axes to grind, artistic license, economic class, gender biases, political allegiences, linguistic universe, and individual tastes. Then consider an even smaller circle inside of that consisting of published historical articles, books, essays, interviews, editorials, commentaries made available to non-specialists and the general public.With each circle we see how much is lost and not available to our present observations. Just imagine the number of conversations, arguments, jokes, descriptions of the world and oral stories are forever lost to our tools of history: unrecorded, thus unrecoverable. Just imagine the number of written notes, letters, sketches, drawings, paintings, musical performances, dances, prayers, meals inaccesable to our digging and probing.
Asana Bodhitharta

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Quote:With each circle we see how much is lost and not available to our present observations. Just imagine the number of conversations, arguments, jokes, descriptions of the world and oral stories are forever lost to our tools of history: unrecorded, thus unrecoverable. Just imagine the number of written notes, letters, sketches, drawings, paintings, musical performances, dances, prayers, meals inaccesable to our digging and probing.Nice post!
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Re: Vanishing History

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Yes, good post Dissident.
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Frank 013
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Re: Vanishing History

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Quote:With each circle we see how much is lost and not available to our present observations. Just imagine the number of conversations, arguments, jokes, descriptions of the world and oral stories are forever lost to our tools of history: unrecorded, thus unrecoverable. Just imagine the number of written notes, letters, sketches, drawings, paintings, musical performances, dances, prayers, meals inaccessible to our digging and probing.This is a good point, but I wonder how much of the lost material is ultimately important information for the human race?For instance I believe that the burning of Alexandria in Egypt was a terrible loss, possibly causing a technology lag of several hundred years.But what joke Maximums told in the forum on July 10th in 12 BCE would be rather meaningless. I believe that the vast majority of overall lost material falls into this category. Probably something like 99.9999999999999999999%The human race has been rather (un-intentionally) careful in the area of keeping useful knowledge available. We also tend to keep good records of the famous and the infamous. There have been instances where we have failed, no doubt, but for the most part we have done a pretty good job. Also we have been rather lucky; we are now able to spend time and energy looking for these lost secrets before they are completely erased by time, the finding of the city of Troy for instance.We have also been Lucky in that many of our social gathering places have not moved much allowing us to stumble on old and formally lost cities and tombs.Later
Asana Bodhitharta

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Quote:We have also been Lucky in that many of our social gathering places have not moved much allowing us to stumble on old and formally lost cities and tombs.Yes isn't it interesting that life began in the most suitable place to preserve cities and tombs. It's almost as if it was purposely started there.
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