We Need A Modern Origin Story

A Big History – A Conversation With David Christian

DAVID CHRISTIAN is Professor of History, Macquarie University, Sydney; Author, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. David Christian’s Edge Bio Page

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David Christian

If you haven’t heard of A Big History then you haven’t heard of the exciting work underway at Macquarie University, Sydney. This work has the potential to change the way we view life. Macquarie University is so committed to it that they are dedicating eight PhD scholarships to it starting this year. The man behind A Big History is David Christian. Here is part of David Christian’s story:

 In modern science, and I include the humanities here, science in a German sense of science—rigorous scholarship across all domains—in modern science we’ve gotten used to the idea that science doesn’t offer meaning in the way that institutional religions did in the past. I’m increasingly thinking that this idea that modernity puts us in a world without meaning—philosophers have banged on about this for a century-and-a-half—may be completely wrong. We may be living in an intellectual building site, where a new story is being constructed. It’s vastly more powerful than the previous stories because it’s the first one that is global. It’s not anchored in a particular culture or a particular society. This is an origin story that works for humans in Beijing as well as in Buenos Aires. 

It’s a global origin story, and it sums over vastly more information than any early origin story. This is very, very powerful stuff. It’s full of meaning. We’re now at the point where, across so many domains, the amount of information, of good, rigorous ideas, is so rich that we can tease out that story. 

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