I like my useless body-composition weight scale. It gives me numbers and plots with labels describing things I want to know. The numbers come from computations based on scientific studies. The numbers have a certainty to them even though I have no idea where this health story will end up. I am entertained watching the show of my own making.
My point here is that life has access to level of literacy that humans have yet to achieve, and may never achieve. We enjoy our current prosperity with too much confidence that it will last forever. We have no permanent record of how we got this to work. Once we collapse, our predecessors may never be able to anything more than scavenge through our ruins. They would be as likely to rediscover how to make megalithic monuments as to rediscover how to create modern life, and that likelihood is near zero.
We discovered the killer and in our attempts to put a stop to the villain we set off a world wide conflagration of the modern equivalent of the upper middle class, its comfort and its source of wealth. The story is still unfolding, but I wonder whether it may all end up like the Name of the Rose, the only thing remaining is the word itself.
Most of the history of rise and fall of human advancement comes from the combination of a man having a plan he is willing to fight for and that fight being delayed by other men taking the time to evaluate whether it is a plan that needs to be fought against.
Underlying the proposal to ban toxic aggression is the untested proposition that major improvements for our descendant’s future can result from such a ban.
In context of the overall story of humanity, what will be the result of our current modernity? I suspect our descendants will not know most about what we currently know about past civilizations. The reason is that we would have exhausted all of the archaeology to provide independent confirmation of the literature. Even if they…
The rise of civilizations is from rapid adaptation of first-hand observations. The fall of civilizations occurs when theories override contrary observations. Government by data and urgency can restore the original vitality that created this civilization, and can prevent the inevitable decline resulting from theory-driven decision making.
Oral story telling was the original big data. The various oral stories were saved in persistent memory and captured a large volume and variety. The invention and adoption of written works displaced the oral tradition and that brought and end to that earlier big data. In this sense, our current excitement about big data may be a rediscovery of a capability available our ancient ancestors. Big data and oral story telling tradition both offer inexpensive and durable means to manage a large number of distinct and very individualized stories. In the modern era, we are rediscovering the need to collect individual stories and thus granting them ability to circulate like what happened in the preliterate society of oral story tellers.
We are experiencing an end of history. Unlike the essay of that title from the 1990s that proposed that the development of democracy has finally reached the ultimate good in terms of social/political development, I am referring to a period where we methodically erase all evidence of the past. Perhaps by the end of the century there will be no evidence there was any history that existed before this century (that last remaining evidence may be the junk we left behind on the moon). Even if the remainder of the century is generally peaceful, the evidence of the past will be destroyed or replaced with modern replicates that lose the connection with the actual past.
In my work experience, I was involved in assisting decision makers or at least participating in a broader decision making process. These were large decisions with long term consequences. Individual decisions were resolved over long periods of time with multiple sessions to evaluate different considerations about the decision. There are many types of…
Recently I have been enjoying many videos on the LindyBeige YouTube channel. In particular, I enjoy watching his presentations of his theories of various historical weapons or warfare tactics and how they were used. I do not know much about him outside of these videos but I’ll grant that he is an archaeologist, a…