Appreciating biblical stories as proto-journalism

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.

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Modernity will become known in history as the age that wiped out history

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.

Treating people like people

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…

Temporal and Material Realities

Lately, I have been stumped by a problem with my neat little theory of separating sciences into present-tense science (collecting well documented and controlled observations) and past-tense science (scrutinizing and interpreting previously collected observations).    The problem came up when I based a conclusion that time travel was a nonsensical concept by suggesting that time…

Is time navigable?

In my discussion of HG Well’s time machine, I mentioned that I originally read the story for its science fiction of traveling in time rather than the social commentary.   It is usual for a young person to be fascinated about the idea of traveling in time, but I like to think that it was…

In search of Competence

In a couple recent posts, my argument stumbled over confusing maturity with competence.   I attempted to clarify that the two ideas are distinct and serve different purposes. I want to return to the original mistake of implying that maturity can be a proxy for competence.   I suggested other “bright” (well defined and controlled)…

Interpreting Crime and Punishment

In earlier posts, I described two approaches to living with respect to the historical record we leave behind.   One approach I described as being like an employee of history who strives to identifying the acts with the most beneficial outcome to add to the historical record instead of the bucket of missed opportunities.  …