Big History Matthew McHollandHistory of the Americas Professor Arguello
The Day the Universe Changed• Essentially, it is not one day, it is every day a discovery or new technology was introduced that changed our perspective about the universe.• Since the universe only exists as we perceive it, every time something changes our perception, it changes the universe.• Our view of history is an every-changing perception of our world and the universe.• The Ionian Greeks began the distinctive way of thinking with western civilization characterized by an “intellectual restlessness.”
The Day the Universe Changed Major ThemesTechnology: Galileo’s telescope changed theperception of our world by revealing that theearth was round. . Gutenbergs printing press helped to transformperception as well as fuel revolutions in thought.
The Day the Universe Changed Major Themes• Discoveries: Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged many previous conceptions and inspired a new way of thinking.• At a certain points in history, knowledge and perception are truths that are held to be valid until proven otherwise- this makes history the universe, and our perception of it fluid and ever-changing things.
The Journey of Man Major Themes• Migration: According to the video, the earliest groups of humans are believed to find their present-day descendants among the San people. This is a group that it is now found in western southern Africa. As humans migrated out of Africa, they all carried a genetic feature on the Y chromosome and it is believed that the first wave of migration out of Africa stayed close to the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean.
The Journey of Man Major Themes. Communication: Language is responsible for the advancement of humancivilization. In this case, the fact that the San people learned how to huntindicates that their ability to communicate was very efficient. According tothe video, there are still people in east Africa who speak differentlanguages that nevertheless share the archaic characteristics of the Sanlanguage. The way they communicated was by using a distinctive repertoireof click and pop sounds.
Catastrophe Major Themes• Disasters: Our planet had to experience many specific events in order to create the unique circumstances necessary to support life.• Catastrophic events have, in essence, led to the construction of an environment that caters to humans and has allowed them to not only survive, but thrive on earth.
Catastrophe Major Themes• Ice Ages, volcanic eruptions, asteroids, and other devastating events have wiped out much of earth’s life forms throughout the ages. However, if it were not for these catastrophes, humans would not have evolved and come to dominate the planet.• The “Big Picture” of history can be viewed as a confluence of events; good, bad and catastrophic, that all contribute and lead to the reality of the present day.
Guns, Germs and Steel Major Themes• Guns, Germs, and Steel is another account of a confluence of events or circumstances which permitted Eurasian cultures to seize power and advance civilization. Jared Diamond, the author of the book the documentary was based on, posits that the advanced Eurasian civilization is not due to their superior intellect, but due to the chain of developments and conditions such as geography and resistance to epidemic illnesses.
Guns, Germs and Steel Continued….• Because of the livestock and plentiful supply of agriculture, Eurasian cultures were able to grow their populations, leading to division of labor, more artistic and cultural professions, and a better organization of militia. This led to a conquest and better protection of their civilization.
Conclusion• History can be viewed as a chain of events, good and bad, which form the conditions that support the present civilized world. Each cause has its designated effect and at times, we do not see all of the related effects until much, much later.