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‘Big History’ and World History And The Eonic Effect

August 12th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Remarkably, John Dean, at Truthdig, has an article on Big History and the books of the genre: Looking for Great ‘Big History’ Books
By John Dean

Ron had introduced me to the notion of big history many years earlier, when he urged that I read Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” (1997). Diamond addresses big historical questions: “Why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way? For instance, why weren’t Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?”

Big history is a relatively new approach which examines human history in wide frameworks. Like Ron, once I discovered big history, I too found myself looking for these works. They are not that easy to find. The Library of Congress cataloging system, for example, has no entry for big history.

Big history was introduced in the late 1980s by scholars like David Christian, who make a powerful case that to understand human history, we must look beyond our borders and our species and our planet to “the whole of time.” Accordingly, many big history writers begin with the Big Bang, tracing, examining, and compressing the historical record from the beginning to the present as they probe for insights. A well-known explanation of this multidisciplinary approach is found in Fred Spier’s “The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang until Today” (1996).

The idea of Big History is a fascinating one, and in expounding on the eonic effect I have used the phrase (not quite in the original sense proposed: histories from the Big Bang), that is ‘macro’ history, or universal histories, of the type proposed in the eonic model, where evolution as dynamics and history as free activity interact in a two level model.
In the next edition of World History and the Eonic Effect, an explicit treatment in terms of ‘Big History’ will appear, in both senses of the term.

I think that the ‘Big Histories’ so far proposed have all been ‘weighted down’ by false assumptions about Darwinism.
World History and the Eonic Effect also has a methodology of ‘relative beginnings’, allowing one to ‘start anywhere’ (relative to the eonic sequence) and in general to look at ‘big history’ in the sense of examining closely tracked intervals at a century or less: this allows us to see if high-speed changes reveal any kind of dynamic not visible in deep time due to the coarse-grained nature of the data sets (a good example is the Axial Age).

Tags: Big History · World History and The Eonic Effect

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Darwiniana » ‘Big History’ done right: the eonic model // Aug 14, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    […] The other day we discussed John Dean’s essay on Big History at Truthdig: ‘Big History’ and World History And The Eonic Effect […]

  • 2 Terry MacKinnell // Aug 14, 2011 at 1:40 am

    My recently published book, “The Dawning” by Terry MacKinnell draws upon the work of a number of historians including John Landon’s “World History and the Eonic Effect”. Basically the book describes how historical periodicity aligns with the archeo-astronomy concept of the Great Ages if viewed the ancient way (ie based on the heliacal rising of stars and constellation in place of the Vernal Point). In my new book, I am basically telling the astrological community they should not go to a historian for a horoscope reading, and they should not refer to their own authority for historical perspectives as astrologers seemed mesmerized with the erroneous concept that Jesus commenced a new astrological age, whereas he commenced the Age of Christianity only.

    Based on a highly innovative approach to the astrological ages, I have the following dates (correct to within 2 to 3 years) for the astrological ages that basically tally with Landon’s eons:

    Aries Age – 2916 BCE (Ancient Egypt)
    Pisces Age – 732 BCE (the Axial age and Ancient Rome)
    Aquarian age – 1433 CE (Modernity & the European invasion of the world – globalization)

    My book is 95% history with a background 5% astrology, and I am interested in how historians, who are not astrologers, would review my book from the historical perspective.

  • 3 Darwiniana » Confusion over the cycles of the Great Year // Aug 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    […] http://darwiniana.com/2009/08/12/big-history-and-world-history-and-the-eonic-effect/comment-page-1/#… […]

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