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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality

7. Systems History: Personal and Planetary Individuation

Nazaretyan, Akop. Evolution of Non-Violence: Studies in Big History, Self-Organization and Historical Psychology. Online: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010. The author is a psychologist, cultural anthropologist and philosopher at M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, International University, and a Senior Researcher at the (Russian) Institute for Oriental Studies. Nazaretyan will present “The Mid 21st Century Puzzle: On the Cosmic Perspective of Mind” at the Global Future 2045 Congress in New York City, June 2013. We include as an example of a visionary non-Western perspective within our composite, bilateral worldwide witness.

This book is a collection of papers (2005-2010) focused on various subjects, but related by a single research issue: developing life, culture and mind as the stages in the evolution of Metagalaxy. Megatrends and mechanisms of evolution are explored in the context of an advanced self-organization model (synergetics; complexity theory). The author pays special attention to the evolution of technologies, violence and non-violence: the papers reveal system dependence between growing instrumental might and the perfection of cultural aggression-sublimation throughout human history. The pattern is illustrated by case studies and verification procedures demonstrating its both destructive and constructive attributes. The results of the retrospective research are used to trace probable scenarios of the global civilization's future and the conditions for its sustainable development. (Publisher)

Neumann, Erich. The Origins and History of Consciousness. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971. Insights from Jungian psychology into megahistory as an analogous cycle of psychic individuation that is understandable through archetypal mythic symbols. As a consequence, the great mission of humankind is the heroic achievement of a whole person.

Patomaki, Heikki and Manfred Steger. Social Imaginaries and Big History: Towards a New Planetary Consciousness? Futures. In Press, October, 2010. University of Helsinki and Globalism Research Centre, RMIT University, Melbourne, political scientists claim the age of nations is now past, if we would not perish, an imperative need is for a common, worldwide sense of an integrally united humankind. This shift is brought into clear relief by the “big history” expanse which sets all temporal human cultures into a cosmic and earthly evolution frame.

Preiser-Kapeller, Johannes. The “Complexities and Networks in the Medieval Mediterrean and the Near East” Project. arXiv:1606.03433. We cite this contribution by an Austrian Academy of Sciences systems historian as an example how these 21st century mathematical sciences can indeed apply to and quantify the seemingly chaotic course of human affairs. A long bibliography provides coverage for the task.

Prieto-Curiel, Rafael, et al. The Diaspora Model for Human Migration. arXiv:2309.03070.. Eight Complexity Science Hub, Vienna theorists including Yuri Holovatch in Ukraine begin to scope out and develop ways that 21st century understandings of mathematical nonlinear dynamics can serve to reveal consistent, repetitive patterns at both macro and micro geographic and populace phases. By virtue of these findings, a deeper track might be availed.guidance

Migration's impact spans various social dimensions, including demography, sustainability, politics, economy and gender disparities. Yet, the decision-making process behind migrants choosing their destination remains elusive. Existing models rely on population size and travel distance. Here we propose the diaspora model of migration which involves intensity (the number of people moving to a place) and assortativity (the goal within the country). Despite its simplicity, our model reproduces the observed stable flow and distribution of migration yielding good estimates of migrant inflow at various geographic scales. (Excerpt)

Russell, Edmund. Evolutionary History: Prospectus for a New Field. Environmental History. 8/2, 2003. An essay on the consideration of historical events and phenomena such as agricultural and technological practices or disease vectors as the result of the same forces that occur in biological evolution. This view would take into account how the course of history is impacted by ecological, genetic and selective forces. By this expanded perspective human civilization can be situated in and connected with the rise of Earth life.

Sabloff, Jeremy, et al, eds. The Emergence of Premodern States: New Perspectives on the Development of Complex Societies. Santa Fe: SFI Press, 2018. Santa Fe Institute anthropologists collect conference papers about endeavors to detect and quantify the presence and exemplary effect of nature’s innate self-organizing dynamics even in such primate to hominid to homo sapiens groupings. For example see Cultural Genotypes and Social Complexity by Scott Ortman, Systematic Comparative Approaches to the Archaeological Record by Laura Fortunato, and Toward a Theory of Recurrent Social Formations by Peter Peregrine.

Sanderson, Stephen, ed. Civilizations and World Systems. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1995. Learned essays in search of ways to characterize the changing rise and fall of human cultures.

Shlain, Lawrence. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. New York: Viking, 1998. Leonard Shlain (1937-2009) surgeon, renaissance person, traveler, wise author here chronicles how the advent of atomistic,discrete written letters ushered in a patriarchical, left brain dominance over a prior iconic, maternal, right brain age. This long historical spiral is only lately reaching compensation by the rise of visual, graphic media. The book cites such polarities as Dionysius/Apollo, Cuneiform/Marduk, Sappho/Ganymede. Although the thesis is stretched, its message is that human passage may be best understood and healed in terms of the feminine and masculine archetypes. Dr. Shlain's earlier classic Art & Physics (Morrow, 1991) made this class on a wider scale from cosmology to consciousness, our reality as most distinguished by this gender complementarity.

Shryock, Andrew and Daniel Lord Smail, eds. Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. While admittedly not of “big” cosmic expanse, Shryock, a University of Michigan anthropologist and Smail, a Harvard historian, with colleagues that include Mary Stiner and Clive Gamble, trace a credible trajectory from our present Holocene back to the hominid and primate Miocene Era some 5 million years ago. Per the quote, from our late vantage an embellished continuity, with recurrent nested network themes, accrues beyond the past version of “ontogeny, genesis and the Fall.”

In the last “Scale” chapter much is made of anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s archetypal human group size of 150 members. This number may be at the high end, as lately associated with the electronic Facebook, of how many people one can keep track of. For integral, diverse communities such as co-housing ecovillages, I have been advised that 100 +/- 30 is more accurate. But there may be a valuable insight to avail here. Our libertarian capitalism of self-reliant individuals appears to be an unsustainable aberration. Might such a once and future community complementarity, indeed as a “social proto-cell,” be a more natural way of habitation?

The goal of this book is to offer a set of tools – patterns, frames, metaphors – for the telling of deep histories. These include kinshipping, fractal replication, exchange, hospitality, networks, trees, extensions, scalar integration, and the spiraling patterns of feedback intrinsic to all coevolutionary processes. Skillfully deployed, these frames and the narratives and evidence they create offer a dynamic of connectedness that can render deep time accessible to modern scholarship, thereby bringing the long ages of human history together in a single story. (xi)

Smail, Daniel Lord. On Deep History and the Brain. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. We quote here from the publisher’s website, but found the work to be somewhat not up to the hype.

This brilliant and beautifully written book dissolves the logic of a beginning based on writing, civilization, or historical consciousness and offers a model for a history that escapes the continuing grip of the Judeo-Christian time frame. Daniel Lord Smail argues that, in the wake of the decade of the brain and the bestselling historical work of scientists like Jared Diamond, the time has come for fundamentally new ways of thinking about our past. He shows how recent work in evolution and paleohistory makes it possible to join the deep past with the recent past and abandon, once and for all, the idea of prehistory. Making an enormous literature accessible to the general reader, he lays out a bold new case for bringing neuroscience and neurobiology into the realm of history.

Spier, Fred. Big History and the Future of Humanity. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. The University of Amsterdam historian is a founding The University of Amsterdam historian is a founding contributor to this movement to situate and root our worldly sojourn in its stellar, galactic, and cosmic environs. From this late retrospect, a few millennia of recorded events can be integrated with a temporal continuity casting back billions of years to singular origins. As noted in Thermodynamics of Life, an overarching vectorial theme, with much reference to Eric Chaisson, appears to be an increase in energy transduction and its resultant scales of animate complexity.

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