4. Idea For A Universal History


Big Histories, Universal Histories  


Section 4.2

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

Civilization, Darwinism, And Theories of Evolution
4th Edition
The Book
By  John Landon






4. Idea For A Universal History  
    4.1 A Short History of The World  
       4.1.1 The Modern Turn: Looking Backward          
    4.2 Big Histories, Universal Histories  
       4.2.1 In Search of The Big Bang 
       4.2.2 From Life's Origin to The Dawn of Human Culture  
    4.3 Neolithic Beginnings  
       4.3.1 Fields of Diffusion  
       4.3.2 Genesis of the Great Religions 
       4.3.3 The Tower of Babel           
   4.4 Egypt, Sumer and The 'Rise of Civilization'  
      4.4.1 Sumer and The Cuneiform Civilization
      4.4.2 Egypt: A Synchronous 'Axial' Effect
   4.5 From Akkad to The Assyrians...and Israel...  
      4.5.1 The Indo-European Migrations   
      4.5.2 The Curse of Mideonic Empire 

 5. Symphony of Emergence


    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

     4.2 Big Histories, Universal Histories


Our account proceeds from causal Big History  to Universal History, the evolution of freedom, and we can set up the starting point of ‘Big History’ as a backdrop to our search for a ‘Universal History’. The idea of Big History, history since the Big Bang, is developed, for example, by David Christian in his Maps Of Time , and this is also appropriate for our tale. Ironically this absolute beginning may in fact turn out to be another relative start, since Big Bang theories may or may not establish absolute starting points, and in any case this forces on us the question of evolution in its most general cosmic context. The connection between the two, self-evident in the eonic effect, is indicated by Christian de Duve in his Vital Dust, where the emergence or evolution of the human will in relation to values becomes a challenge to purely reductionist views. Reductionist science simply disregards the demand for any account of this aspect of evolution.[i]

The Goldilocks Enigma Paul Davies in The Goldilocks Enigma  asks, Why does the universe seem so well-suited to life? Is this not really the answer to its own question: the transition from Big History to Universal History is effected by this ‘fine-tuning’ emerging in the Big Bang itself. Physics itself, although physicists are reluctant to admit it, gives us a hint of the mechanism beyond natural selection. This insight has been confused by metaphysical design arguments. But the empirical basis for a consideration of evolutionary directionality, beyond random evolution, is there.[ii]

Because of its double aspect, the idea of Big History stages a dramatic, almost drastic contrast of scales, the unimaginable vistas of deep time, next to the evanescent moment of man’s emergence into Civilization, and our detectable ‘evolutionary moments’ at the level of centuries. We should peg our depiction of the latest with the earliest.

 The perspective of Big History can be misleading, recall our discussion of ‘evidence density’: we need two standards of evidence: the long term, and the short term. Big History has thus two meanings. The first can encompass the extent of time since the Big Bang. The other, which we might call ‘macro-history’, shows us the fine-grain at the level of centuries or less. We have seen that evolutionary generalizations require both standards. We might not detect the existence of non-random evolution if we confine our perceptions to the large-scale. This second standard only arises with world history, the only source of data for ‘big history’ in the second sense.



   Web:  chap4_1_1.htm


[i] David Christian, Maps Of Time: An Introduction to Big History (Berkely: University Of California Press, 2005), Brown, Cynthia Stokes, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present ( New York : The New Press, 2007). Christian de Duve, Vital Dust: Life As A Cosmic Imperative (New York: Basic Books, 1995)

[ii] Paul Davies, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? ( New York : Houghton Mifflin, 2006).





Last modified: 09/23/2010