Universal History

I would like to start a serious discussion of UniversalHistory because I think it is time for a new one. I am interestedin knowing how to think and I think that the ones that we are currently using are even if correct, falling a bit behind new information. -- JonGrover

First question: Is this the right wiki in which to have this discussion? If not, do you know one that is?

I do not know if this is the proper wiki to have this discussion on because it goes into subjects that this wiki does not usually cover: history, philosophy, and religion. However, the need for a new Universal History is being driven by substantial 'advances' in computer technology and the development of the Internet and collaborative ventures such as this wiki and therefore could very well definitely be within the scope of this wiki.

Universal history is a subject that is likely to get a lot of people very angry and passionate about it, and therefore I do not know how to have this discussion without there being a lot of negative tyoes of discussion. This would not produce what I want.

I find the question "is this the right wiki" to be a very good one for all sorts of subjects. Some people discuss the general problem at http://wikinodes.wiki.taoriver.net/ and http://CommunityWiki.org/ . I suspect that http://futures.wiki.taoriver.net/ might currently be the best place to discuss UniversalHistory. -- DavidCary


Second Question: what is our current understanding of universal history?

Universal History can be defined as how you view history past present and future. IUn other words it is what you think has happened, what you think is happening and what you think will happen and how theese all relate together.

I think it would be useful to do a survey of the standard universal histories before I try to build a new one and I do not know them all.

These are the standards which very substantial numbers of people believe:

Hegel -- Combination of democracy and free market will politically outcompete all other forms of government until the only systems in the world will be free market and democratic

Postmillennial -- Jesus will return after there has been a 1000 year divine kingdom which we have built under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Premillennial -- Jesus will return, and fix the mess we have made of things, and he will rule for 1000 years after which Satan will be loosed and then destroyed.

Singularity -- technology will develop until computers are smarter than humans and think faster at which point the process will speed up until a specific point is reached at which computers are infinitely intelligent and think infinitely quickly.

Singularity -- technology will develop until computers are smarter and think faster than a single human, at which point the process will speed up, quickly passing the point where a computer is smarter and thinks faster than all the humans on earth, at which point not only does no one know what will happen, it will be impossible for any human to predict what will happen even a single second later. See http://sl4.org/ .

Marxism -- Capitalism's inherent contradictions will cause a collapse of the Capitalist system which will be replaced with a dictatorship of the proletariat, and the state will slowly fade away.

Moslem -- I don't know this one. What is this one? AnswerMe

Hindu -- I don't know this one. What is this one? AnswerMe

Maya -- From what little I've heard about this culture, it believed there were repeating cycles ... after each Great Cycle which took several thousand years, everything repeated exactly the same way it did last time. Or something like that.

(is there a name for this ?) -- Humans continue build better spacecraft and slowly colonize Luna, Mars, and eventually more distant planets and other sorts of living spaces. When Sol fails, millions of people mourn, then go on with their lives.

(is there a name for this ?) -- Humans decide that leaving earth is really more bother than its worth. Eventually humans go extinct, and when Sol fails, so does all other life.

(is there a name for this ?) -- Humans discover extraterrestrial intelligence.

As I agree with substantial portions of the first four, I think that they could be integrated.

I am interested because I am a Christian and I have developed a theory of history which may be able to provide the universal history which I want to have in place so that I know how to think, and so that I can tell other people how to think (by example). However since I do not have one yet, I can do neither.


Discussion about whether Universal History Exists or is Knowable

Our knowledge of the universe is limited to the crust of one planet and what we can see from the surface. Our knowledge of the history of the universe is limited to what we've written down about what's happened on parts of the surface of that planet and what we can infer from what we can see. I don't put much stock in any universal history humans write. -- EricHodges

This could be answered many different ways each of which could lead to a different discussion.

You obviously sense an overriding limitation to our understanding of the universe as an obstacle to doing this. According to my history theory, it may still be too early to come up with an answer for a subject like Universal History because we do not know enough yet. The Internet allows us to collaborate in understanding the universe, and our knowledge of the Universe is advancing so rapidly that we will have to wait a bit until our understanding is higher before taking another shot at Universal History. It might be five or ten or twenty (or 30) years before the ramifications of the Internet have played themselves out enough to collate the data and develop a proper Universal History. Remember, starting from the invention of the scientific method by Albertus Magnus in the 1150's until the development of a proper univedrsal history by Hegel in the 1820's took over 400 years. Even though things have speeded up by about 16 times, this means that from the invention of the Graphical web browser in 1993 to the likely invention of a new proper Universal history would take until about 2034 or so. Maybe the problem that you are pointing out is that our knolwedge is still too limited and it is too early to try.

I can still want one.

-- JonGrover

I don't see how the belief attributed to Hegel can be called a universal history. It seems like a prediction based on a simple model of a few hundred years of European history to me. Are you familiar with post-modernist discourse on meta-narratives? -- EricHodges

According to Ian Hunter, if I might paraphrase, post-modernism treats metanarratives with incredulity and post-modernism believes there is no truth, life has no purpose, there is no right and wrong, there is only chaos, there is no law, only power, and There is no salvation. Is this a good description? -- JonGrover


Perhaps it is too early to come up with a proper Universal History. I forecast that we will be able to do this about 2035. However it may be useful to come up with a new Universal History every year or two until then, knowing that its validity will be lost as our understanding of the world improves.
Recognizing that our Earth's history is just a point in our particular SpaceTime, here is an attempt to use the approach in GlobalWarming to describe the larger cosmological context in which we find ourselves. This helps understand the milieu of StarTrek, StarWars and even AlienLifeOnThisPlanet, without dictating any particular BeliefSystem? altough you could elaborate various ones within this structure (i.e. Civilization->Religion,Culture,Art...). You can double check this with ScientificAmerican :-)


I believe the question of whether a universal history is possible was answered firmly in the negative by Karl Popper in The Poverty of Historicism, half a century ago.

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