Perspective Check: Time For Some History Lessons

Ioannis Kontomitros / CC 3.0

Ioannis Kontomitros / CC 3.0

Last week’s Jurassic World-inspired post got me thinking – there is so much of history that we don’t really know. While folks already complain about the quality of history classes in public schools, at their best these cover only the last few centuries.

lot of stuff happened before that.

Based on observations of the Universe’s cosmic background radiation, our home is about 13.7 billion years old. Human civilization has been around for about 0.000004% of that. The oldest dinosaur discussed in my last post, Stegosaurus, showed up 99.9886861% of the way into our Universe’s lifespan to date.

It’s hard to imagine how to cover that much time. So I’m proposing an exponential approach. Since change has accelerated exponentially over time – spurred by such events as the formation of planets, the beginning of life, the evolution of intelligence, and the creation of technology – there are fewer changes to cover the further back we go, with very few exceptions.

The newer changes are also, of course, of greater practical relevance to humans. We are probably more interested in anything related to living matter, for example, than anything related to strictly inanimate dust. So, we will cover the earliest years most quickly.

But, let me introduce one last twist: we’re going to do it backwards.

We’re going to start in the present day and work our way back through history.

Stay tuned for our first history lesson later this week!

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2 Responses to Perspective Check: Time For Some History Lessons

  1. Roger Pocock says:

    An interesting approach, although so much of history is about cause and effect, so it will be particularly challenging to comment on the effects without looking at the causes first.

    • kagmi says:

      True! I struggled with which way to do this, but ultimately decided that this might help the reader feel more connected to distant events. We hear a lot about early history but it often doesn’t feel real because it is so radically different, you know?

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