ISJ November 2014: Big History, part two
Lowell S Gustafson
Part one (April issue 2014) considered the role of ‘Big History’ and looked at the origins of our universe. Part two takes up the story when history starts to define itself by the written record. If the story of the past is begun with the written record, we can push the story back as early as the seventh millennium BC with the Jiahu symbols in China. The account is sometimes begun with such wonderful pieces as the Epic of Gilgamesh. But as we know now, material evidence gives us primary sources which, when we learn how to ‘read’ them, tell a much longer story of how we developed self-consciousness, culture, and increasingly complex communication and exchanges. The written record needs to be placed within a deeper past.