David Christian Quotes.
I remember very vividly, as a child growing up in England, living through the Cuban Missile Crisis. For a few days, the entire biosphere seemed to be on the verge of destruction. And the same weapons are still here, and they’re still armed. If we avoid that trap, others are waiting for us.
If historians don’t tell stories at the scales of creation myths, someone else will.
Learning to domesticate the horse was a sort of energy revolution.
Living organisms are created by chemistry. We are huge packages of chemicals.
I think what I was after was a unifying story that could bring everything together, that could give me a sense of the whole of history.
Maps of Time attempts to assemble a coherent and accessible account of origins, a modern creation myth.
Our goal is to see Big History become a normal part of high school curricula. I’d love to see it being taught in lots of languages. A global course.
Gravity is more powerful where there’s more stuff.
Big History’s not going to replace existing educational courses. It’s not an attack on specialisation. It is simply the argument that specialisation needs to be complemented with an overview, which I think is scientific commonsense.
In literature classes, you don’t learn about genes; in physics classes you don’t learn about human evolution. So you get a fragmented view of the world. That makes it hard to find meaning in education.
I had this feeling that, somehow, we ought to be teaching not just the history of particular nations or particular regions, but the history of humanity.
We inhabit an obscure planet, in an obscure galaxy, around an obscure sun, but on the other hand, modern human society represents one of the most complex things we know.
If, in schools, we keep teaching that history is divided into American history and Chinese history and Russian history and Australian history, we’re teaching kids that they are divided into tribes. And we’re failing to teach them that we also, as human beings, share problems that we need to work together with.
Modern scientific knowledge appeared piecemeal. Historians wrote about human history; physicists tackled the material world; and biologists studied the world of living organisms. But there were few links between these disciplines, as researchers focused on getting the details right.
I believe human beings mark a threshold in the development of the planet, of course, but it is only part of the picture. What Big History can do is show us the nature of our complexity and fragility and the dangers that face us, but it can also show us our power, with collective learning.
All religions, all indigenous traditions, all origin stories provide a large map of where you are.
We, as extremely complex creatures, desperately need to know this story of how the universe creates complexity and why complexity means vulnerability and fragility.
When very large stars die, they create temperatures so high that protons begin to fuse in all sorts of exotic combinations, to form all the elements of the periodic table. If, like me, you’re wearing a gold ring, it was forged in a supernova explosion.