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Origin Story: A Big History of Everything af…
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Origin Story: A Big History of Everything (original 2018; udgave 2019)

af David Christian (Forfatter)

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3501155,214 (3.79)3
This New York Times bestseller "elegantly weaves evidence and insights...into a single, accessible historical narrative" (Bill Gates) and presents a captivating history of the universe -- from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to mass globalization and beyond. Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day -- and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence? These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of "Big History," the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we've come to know as "history." By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together -- from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond. With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.… (mere)
Medlem:cynrwiecko
Titel:Origin Story: A Big History of Everything
Forfattere:David Christian (Forfatter)
Info:Little, Brown Spark (2019), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Origin Story: A Big History of Everything af David Christian (2018)

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Very interesting. About the birth of the universe, how life started, and the evolution of humans. Extraordinary how the many necessary Goldilock conditions and energy flows got us to today. At least as good and interesting as Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (and covers the whole period from The Big Bang until today). ( )
  Henrik_Warne | Dec 13, 2020 |
My Book of the Decade -- teens ( )
  applemcg | Nov 13, 2020 |
Big History is becoming a familiar concept. Since it was launched in the 1990s by the Dutchman Fred Spier and in Australia by David Christian himself, it has taken on a life of its own. Christian first summed up his way of looking at history "on a large scale" in 2004 in his "Maps of Time," which was an impressive book. Since then, variants and additions have been published by himself, but also by many others. Big History also has become a separate discipline within the academic world, with its own institutes and journals (not to confound with ‘Global History’). And the movement was especially impacted by the enthusiasm with which Bill Gates and his Foundation endorsed this approach, which resulted, among other things, into a comprehensive package of didactic material that historians and others can use in education.
The great merit of Big History is that human history is fitted into that of the universe, an extreme bird's eye view that allows to see the broad lines and thus distinguish the important from the secondary. David Christian does this in this book with much more emphasis than in his first ones. The relative place of man in the universe is constantly emphasized, while at the same time highlighting the enormous impact of human activity on the own planet. The book is much more didactic and therefore more accessible than ‘Maps of Time’ (although there are certainly tough passages, with a lot of jargon).
But over the years Big History has also received a lot of criticism. As said before, the extreme bird's eye view has its advantages, but it ignores the ultra-contingent character of historical evolutions. Christian tries to compensate for this by constantly underlining the complex convergence of coincidence and necessity, highlighting the importance of emergent phenomena and unexpected feedback loops. But, of course, a glimpse into the history of the universe from such a great distance inevitably gets a certain deterministic undertone, as if everything went as it should have gone.
A second major criticism of Big History is that the emphasis is a little too much on the physics-cosmological approach: a lot of time is spent on sketching the origin and development of the universe, of our solar system, of life on earth and so on , and that is clearly at the expense of human history. In this book, for example, mankind only appears halfway through, so that human history is limited to a few rough lines of evolution. The criticism is correct, of course, but - as said - it is precisely the merit of Big History that it places human history in that broader context.
A final criticism is that Big History is implicitly based on a form of belief in progress. David Christian doesn't even make a secret of it. Like many physicists, he expresses his fascination for the impressive process of evolution that our universe has gone through, in an ascending line of increasing complexity. And he immediately emphasizes how fascinating it is that in our age we have obtained a reliable picture of that evolution through science (in contrast to religious and other creation myths). "Because it is based on a global heritage of thoroughly controlled knowledge and information, and because it is the first genesis of human societies and cultures from all over the world." Big History exudes the unshakable belief in the cumulative progression of knowledge and insight through science, with a specific emphasis on the connecting and overarching elements. Christian is well aware of how much that positive perspective has faltered in our recent time period, precisely because of the enormous possibilities that man has acquired to intervene in his environment, even to annihilate that environment. Hence the very pedantic tone in the epilogue, with a call to change tack, but also with a strong belief in technological possibilities.
I can only recommend reading this book, although it has some tough chapters, and you have to deal with the caveats I mentioned above. But Christian has managed to summarize his "universal" history in a very engaging way. See also my review in my History-alias on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2581107640. ( )
  bookomaniac | Jul 22, 2020 |
I was in love with Big History before it was formally inaugurated by David Christian with his influential book Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History in 2004. Christian espoused a view of history that I’d unknowingly held since a small child: that a history that starts with written language is a very small one; that one that begins with the human career is only slightly larger. That a human-centric history is in fact parochial.

Though Christian’s work has motivated an academic discipline, he was far from the first nor only exponent of its essentials. A very abbreviated list, if you’re a lumper and not a splitter, might include Alexander von Humboldt, Carl Sagan, William McNeill, and Jared Diamond. Big history has since become incorporated into many high school curricula, influenced by Bill Gates who was so gobsmacked that he founded the Big History Project in collaboration with Christian as a worldwide effort to promote the teaching of the subject.

Big History is history writ large. It encompasses all we know about the past, starting with the Big Bang, through the formation of galaxies, solar systems, our planet Earth, the origin and evolution life on Earth, human evolution, and eventually the human spread around the globe and human society. It seeks universal patterns of explanation and is by nature necessarily multidisciplinary.

Origin Story is Christian’s updated account of this discipline, and his claim is that Big History represents a modern creation story, a secular creation story. In this way of seeing things, a species-wide narrative of our origins is still being elaborated, is continuing to unfold. But its elements are visible. And if we are able to make the transition to a sustainable future — far from certain as, human conflict aside, 10,000 years of unguided human geoengineering careen toward a global environmental confrontation — our descendants may well tell much the same story.
  stellarexplorer | Jan 4, 2020 |
how I wish I understood chemistry and physics so books like this wouldn’t give me splitting headaches. Yet every year or so I pick one up determined to understand the universe. As Chris says “oh you are in your ‘I will prove I’m smart enough to understand this’ frustrated mood.” He says it’s from my lack of imagination. (I still argue with him about those stupid worms in Dune.)
Back to Origin Story, I did have a non-headache mind-blown moment during the chapter about the first photosynthesizing one-celled organisms that output so much oxygen we went into a 1 hundred million year ice age until the Earth’s plates moved and enough volcanoes erupted...this was about 3.5 billion years ago.
The book is split perfectly in half with 155 pages pre-humans and 155 pages human life. Most of the human section is similar to books like “Guns Germs and Steel” and “sapiens” but his last chapter about the near future is worth reading. ( )
  strandbooks | Oct 30, 2019 |
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This New York Times bestseller "elegantly weaves evidence and insights...into a single, accessible historical narrative" (Bill Gates) and presents a captivating history of the universe -- from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to mass globalization and beyond. Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day -- and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence? These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of "Big History," the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we've come to know as "history." By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together -- from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond. With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.

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