A BRIEF HISTORY OF IDEAS

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  Cave paintings from Chauvet                                                     The last Ice age                                                     30,000 BC         

Earth formation   15By - 3.5By    

After the Big Bang, matter forms first galaxies. Clouds of Hydrogen in the galaxies collapse and spin up until fusion is ignited to form the sun. Debry is the spinning disk accrete driven by gravity, until they are pulled spherical and form planets. A massive collision with a meteor creates the moon. 1By after Earth is formed, life appears.

 

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Life starts    3.5By  - 205My    Bacteria evolve to marine animals and move onto land

3.5 years BC   Stromatolites form early bacteria life

3-400,000,000 years  Oil created from marine deposits over 1 My 

5-250,000,000 years  Grand Canyon deposited

3-200,000,000 years  Single continent of Pangea

 

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Age of Dinosaurs   205My - 66My     

Dinosaurs take over for 150My and  have roughly 80% DNA in common with Humans 

205,000,000 years   J-T extinction volcano decimated marine life 

100,000,000 years   CO2 levels 2-3x today, temps +10C with no polar ice. 

66,000,000 years     K-T extinction meteorite eliminates dinosaurs

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Age of Mammals  66My - 8Ky

66,000,000 years  Mammal species explode, birds evolve as the survivors of the dinosaur line. 

7,000,000 years Hominids split from Great Apes 

400,000 years Start of the 4 ice ages with a 100,000 year period driven by changes in orbital eccentricity that affect the Earth-sun distance (Milkantivitch Cycles). 

200,000 years Homo Sapiens emerges  after nearly  7M years of evolution with 99.5% DNA from the common Great Ape ancestor.  

70,000  Homo Sapiens  hunter gatherers leave Africa.

50,000  Aboriginals populate Australia

30,000 Cave paintings in Chauvet, France.

11,000  Americas first populated. 

8,000    End of last Ice Age that covered US, UK and Fertile Crescent with ice                            Sculls of the evolving Hominids at the                                                                                                                                                                                           Cradle of Humanity in Johannesburg               

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                                                                                       CIVILIZATION 

Fertile crescent  7500 - 3000 BC birth of agriculture 

Settled agriculture was developed using domesticated animals and crops. The key was that once each farmer could grow more food than they needed, the excess enabled the Sumerian ruling class with the resources to establish civilization.   Generally regarded as part of the Stone Age.

                                                                                                     Sumerian reed huts                                      Pot from Uruk  3200 BC

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Classical Egypt 3000-300BC - religion of the immortals.

Religious evolve as a ethnic identity,  membership driven by competing invasions. 

The uniquely fertile Nile river creates great wealth for the Pharoe "god-kings". Their religion centers on their immortality through mummification and very fancy burials. The god-kings self funded temples and burials in their own honor, projecting their power to the general population. The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased.   Abu Simbel was a temple to honor Ramases II,  built by Ramases II. 

The tomb of Tutankamun was one of the only tombs that was not sacked by the priests of Arun who came to power in 300 BC, and knew the locations of the tombs in Valley of the Kings.

Elsewhere, the Dead Sea Scrolls were written sometime from 1-3000 BC. In the Fertile Crescent, Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, and again c. 612 – c. 320 BC with Zoroastrianism as their religion. By 500 BC, Buddism and Juadeism were gaining support. In the UK, Stonehenge was built as an astronomical observatory. Generally regarded as covering the Iron and Bronze Ages.

                                                                    Abu Simbel                                                Tutankhamun                    Preparing for the after-life      

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Greek enlightenment  300 BC-27AD - Early science and trans-continental trade over the Silk road. 

Starting in 600 BC, many Greek cities formed Republics typically run by elected  community elders in a fledgling democracy. These cities supported some of the earliest scientific inquiries for example; in geometry by Pythogoras and Euclid, in theoretical astronomy by Aristarcus and medicine by  Hippocrates.  At the same time, trans-continental trade over the Silk Road to the far east and India, and the Incense Route to Africa and Arabia brought exotic goods. Petra stood at a crossroads of these routes and brought wealth to the Nabateans, a semi nomadic Arabian tribe that ran many of the trans Arabia routes. The Greeks under Alexander the Great took over Egypt, and then the Romans took over the Greeks and started a brief period of Roman Republic democracy. 

The idea that the Earth circled the sun - "Heliocentric universe" - was first proposed by Aristarcus. "His (Aristarcus) hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the sun remain unmoved, that the earth revolves about the sun on the circumference of a circle, the sun lying in the middle of the orbit"  in "The Sand Reckoner" by Archimedes. 

Elsewhere, Chinese rulers took the Terracotta Army with them in the afterlife, and discovered the compass. 

Pynx site of Athens public democracy                                                                              Euclid                                                     Petra                                

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Middle Ages 27 -1400 AD - struggle for domination between religions. 

The Middle Ages were a series of conflicts between rulers from different religions. It started with Roman emperors taking over most of Europe and the Middle East at  the  zenith of the Roman empire. Waves of Christian and Islamic invasions followed.  “Batalha de Aljubarrota 02” by Jean d’Wavrin showed a battle of  Portugal & England vs. France. The rulers demonstrated their power and religiosity through progressively more spectacular cathedrals. Culminating with the Gothic masterpieces in Isle de Paris, Winchester, Rouen etc. The church of Sainte Chappelle in the Isle de France Paris, was designed to upstage  Aachen Cathederal, in turn to upstage the  Basilica San Vitale. The first signs of protections for  individual rights appeared In England with the Magna Carta.  Samarkand, in Uzbekistan north of Iran, became the center of Islamic scholarship. 

Meanwhile, the sun worshipping civilizations in the Americas (Aztecs, Incas, Mayans) were building substantial temples. Also Hindu temples were being built in India and Cambodia (Ankor Wat).  Polynesians were taking over in the Pacific, and the Buddist Golden Temple in Kyoto was built.  In China, there were  numerous struggles between local warlords.  From 618-907 AD, the Tang dynasty was a golden age of Chinese civilization, a prosperous, stable, and creative period with significant developments in most notably printing. Buddhism became the predominant religion. Chang'an (modern Xi'an), the national capital, was the largest city in the world during its time.

Batalha de Aljubarrota                                              Winchester                                               Sainte Chappelle                     Hagia Sophia

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Renaissance 1450-1766 AD - Science and art flourishes, world empires are created through exploration.

The Renaissance flourished in the Republic of Florence a community run by a series of oligarch families elected by a small group of power brokers. The Medichi's supported a new breed of open thinkers, such as Leonardo Da Vinchi, Michaelangelo, etc.  Leonardo Da Vinchi (1452-1549 AD) predates Copernicus heliocentric theory, Dutch Masters. Galileo (1564-1642 AD) still fell foul of the Catholic Church dogma for championing Copernicus's ideas, and even  in 1859 Darwin imposed a self imposed delay in Origin of Species possibly due to religious pressure with debate continued  through  the Scopes monkey trial in 1925, until today.

The competition between European powers changed to empire building through exploration. Discovery by Columbus, Magellan, and  Drake followed by invasions by Cortes, Cartier, the Pilgrims and others led to slavery and mass genocide of native populations in the name of commerce and religious conversion. 

 

 Michaelangelo                Copernicus                                              Dutch masters                                               Trial of Galileo

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Democratic revolutions 1766 - 2020 AD - starting in US, France & UK. 

Improvements in the wealth and education of the working people increased the pressure for representative government. It started with limited, whites and male only, democracy after revolutions in the US in 1776 and France in 1799.  Scientific evolution driven by education and funding increasing the number participants - enabled by democracy

In the US, it took the Civil War in 1861-5 to abolish slavery, and the civil rights movement in 1970 for equal voting rights. It was until 1994 that South Africa, the last country with formal minority racist rule, had universal voting. France cycled from Republic to Empire before settling on democracy in the 1900's. In 1802, the UK moved to male only democracy under a constitutional monarchy. In the early 1900's, women got the vote and democracy spread around the world as the European empires collapsed.

From 1914-1945, Two world wars pitted the expansionist goals of  autocracies against the rest of the world, leaving USA as the worlds undamaged dominant economic power. 


From 1945 -1989, post war Europe was divided by the "Iron curtain" forming a USSR communist sphere of influence.  In Korea and Vietnam the struggle was between democracy and Chinese communism. The fall of the Wall and death of Mao saw the end of expansionist communism. 

 

As communism declined, Islamic purists reemerged resisting external  influences which resulted the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979,  the rejection of USSR by Afghanistan in 1989,  the attack on the Twin Towers in 2000, and subsequent entanglement of the USA in Afghanistan, and Iran. 

Russia resorted to an autocracy under Putin, culminating in the failed invasion of Ukraine in 2022 which showed the degradation of their military under autocratic control. 

 

The astonishing Industrial, Scientific and Technological revolutions in the 20th century were centered on the Western Democracies. Unconstrained capitalism, particularly in technology, has given rise to a new class of uber-rich oligarchs with great influence.

US Revolution                                           French Revolution                                           Moon rise                                         DNA

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Sustainable Earth Era 2020 AD -

At the current use rate, and known reserves we will run out of oil and gas around 2050-2060. 

EVEN IF THERE WAS NO CLIMATE CHANGE WE HAVE TO START NOW TO BECOME INDEPENDENT OF FOSSIL FUELS ! 

Around 2020, the world finally came to accept that CO2 from burning fossil fuels was having a catastrophic impact on climate. The potential for problems was first identified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. In 1988, James Hansen, then the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, stated to the U.S. Senate Energy committee “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”  in 2015, the Paris Accords were first effort at International action. Political posturing and the fossil fuel businesses minimized the impact of the Accords. By 2022, the impacts of climate change were affecting every corner of the earth through extreme weather and changes in the distribution of water. For example, major rivers are drying out, glaciers disappearing, along with  massive floods. The measured greenhouse effect shown in the graph below is around 1C per 50 ppm in CO2, in spectacular agreement with Arrhenius's original estimate of 1.5C.

Governments started to make substantial investments in technology for clean energy. The question in 2022 is how bad will it get before the world is able to stabilize the climate ? Sea levels in the Cretaceous, just before the dinosaurs disappeared around 100M years ago, with no polar ice were 1-200m higher with 1-2000ppm CO2 and a 10C temp rise. By calculation,  it is estimated that  if all glaciers melted there would be 70m of sea level rise. In the short term it is estimated that by 2100 the rise will be 1-2m, probably 10x higher when ice melt equilibrates after 500+ years. 

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CONCLUSIONS

Geological evolution driven by continental drift and changes in orbital eccentricity that affect the Earth-sun distance (Milkantivitch Cycles).

Animal evolution - driven by mutation rate - 7M years and 0.5% DNA change are benchmarks for a new species.  

Religions and language evolve as a common ethnic identity,  membership driven by competing invasions. 

Scientific evolution driven by education and funding increasing the number participants - enabled by democracy.

Our history shows the constant struggle for power between different communities. The earliest communities were held together by common beliefs about life and death that were dominated observations of the cycles of sun and moon, supported by detailed  fact free myths. These arbitrary belief systems were then modified over time by a progressively better factual understanding of reality, leading to  modern technological society. The absence of a factual basis helps the leaders of the communities to keep power with belief systems that are rigid and unvarying, and by opposing any new views of reality.  The process of understanding reality is encouraged  when power is shared rather controlled.  

 

The power of political, royal, religious, financial, and corporate autocracy's, tends to stifle ideas and innovation. 

Democracies stimulate the competition of ideas.

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TIME SCALES

Universe                        1year

Earth                              3mo

Life                                 2.5mo

Dino's lasted                4 days

Oil created                    5 days 

To evolve from apes   7 hrs 

Homo Sapiens so far 10mins

Human history            30secs

1000 years                      3secs

I year                                3msec

A Very Brief look back 

Years ago

 

 

100     "0.3 secs"

1000  "3 secs"

10,0000 "30 secs"

100,000 "3mins"

1M       "30 mins"

 

 

 

10M     "5 hours"

100M  "2 days"

 

1B       "1 month"

10 B    "1 year"

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                        AMERICAS                  EUROPE & MIDDLE EAST              CENTRAL ASIA                    FAR EAST

 

2100 AD 

       

2020 AD ---------------------------------------CLIMATE CHANGE BECOMES REAL---------------------------------------------------

         World Economic Domination                                                           

1900 AD

                                             Explosion of knowledge               

1766 AD   -------------------- SECULAR    DEMOCRACIES -------------------------   

 

 

                     Slave trade starts-----------------------------------

1620 AD      Pilgrims Land                 Trial of Galileo                                East India Company

 

1543  AD                                              Copernicus heliocentricity                                           Gold Temple Kyoto       

1492 AD      Columbus lands                                                                                                     Forbidden City

                                                              DVinchi & Michaelangelo           

                                                              RENEISSANCE                                      

1400 AD  ------------------------------------ WORLD WIDE EXPLORATION-------------------------------------------------------------

                       Sun sacrifice                                                                             Islamic Samarkand

                                                             Sainte Chappelle

                                                             Christianity vs.  Islam   

                                                             Worship and dogma celebrated      Hinduism         Gunpowder, Printing

27 AD                                                   CRUSADING MONARCHS                                                              Paper

                       Nazca Lines                 Geometry, heliocentricity etc.                                                                    

300 BC                                                GREEK ENLIGHTENMENT      Luxuries , preservatives    Terracotta Army  

                                                            ----------------------- TRANS-CONTINENTAL TRADE  - SILK ROAD  ----------------------

500 BC                                                 Judaeism                                                  Buddism                       Compass

                                                              Dead Sea Scrolls

                                                            Stonehenge, Babylon

                                                              Immortality celebrated

3000 BC                                               PHAEROE GOD KINGS  IN EGYPT

                                                              Fertile Crescent 

7500 BC                                               SETTLED  AGRICULTURE WHEN ICE AGE END

                       Geology                                     Anthropology

10Ky          Last ice age ends

30Ky                                                                  Cave paintings

70Ky                                                                  Homo-sapiens leaves Africa

200Ky                                                                Homo-sapiens appears

                                                              

400K-10Ky      4  Ice ages          

 

7My                                                                    Split from great apes

10My    Himalayan uplift 

50My         Ice free world +14C                     AGE OF MAMMALS

66My                                                                 Dinosaurs die off K-T extinction

                                       

                                                                           AGE OF DINOSAURS

204My                                                              Dinosaurs appear after J-T extinction    

250My      Youngest rocks in Grand Canyon.           

300-400My   Pangea                                     Oil created from marine life   

       

         

800My                                                              Sponges

1.5By         Oldest rocks in Grand Canyon          

3.5By                                                                Bacteria

4.7By          Earth forms                                 LIFE STARTS        

13By                                                                  BIG BANG

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