Big History and the Shape of History

At the recent Big History conference, I noted several ways of thinking about the long-term shape of history.
There was the idea of growth. The idea of the growth of complexity is important in Big History. Growth can take different forms and I noted several ideas at the conference: one was exponential growth (slow at first then accelerating, as a population may grow when conditions are right; another was logistic growth, the s-shaped pattern of acceleration then deceleration. Overall, growth can be smooth or bumpy, fast or slow, constant or accelerating.
There was also the idea of thresholds or tipping points. Chronozoom (the website) highlights a series of thresholds beginning with the Big Bang. Another key transmutation was the advent of agriculture. Another was the idea by David Christian that a new phase of history is the “anthropocene” or the era of human impact on the earth. Also the idea of a future tech singularity was discussed.
These both capture much of importance. But there are other ideas of the shape of history that I did not hear mentioned.


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