Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ideas That Changed the World

I was given this book many years back. The author, Felipe Fernandez Armesto, portrays human history in terms of a series of intellectual and conceptual discoveries, adopted and understood by civilizations over time. I think it almost works better than a regular history book in the sense that history as a discipline is too much of a backward narrative for me. One tends to think of history as event-facts. But events are almost entirely the result of ideas, or sub-ideas (like the idea that say, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand needs to die).

When I see the world in terms of ideas and ages, and ages made from ideas, then everything makes so much more sense. Something like the whole of religion looks like just another man made idea, like cooking one's food, or democratic rule.

As the book begins from prehistoric time, one already is given a sense of the whole of humanity and what it means to be a race that grows off/with/out of planet earth.

By understanding, in this way, the ages and every smaller increment of time possible, I believe one is in a far better position to make educated predictions about the cycles or ages of at least the relatively near future. At least that's how I see it.

Check it out on Goodreads

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