Big History and Collective Learning 2016/17; Big History and Collective Learning 2017/18; Prof. David Christian in Hong Kong - Public Lecture on Big History and Student Conference on Humanity, Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence (29 September 2018) (NEW!) Not only material goods were carried along the Silk Roads, however, but intellectual, social, and artistic ideas as well, which together had an even greater impact on collective learning (Christian et al. The Silk Roads, both the land and maritime variants, are the quintessential example of the interconnectedness of civilizations during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations. Population estimates from the ancient world are always difficult, but the population of the Roman Empire may have fallen from 60 million to 45 million between the mid-first and mid-second centuries CE. Population growth tended to Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Plough and Pastoralism. Collective learning, one of the most important threshold moments plays a huge role in the story of gunpowder. 2013: 177–178). This raises the … In studying collective learning and human history we find many positive feedback cycles. The cargo also included large quantities of standardized inkpots, spice jars, and jugs, clearly export goods manufactured for specific markets. Chinese edicts of 65–70 CE specifically mention the spread of Buddhism and opposition to it from imperial scholars devoted to Confucianism. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. 400079 The major Silk Roads land routes stretched from the Han capital, Chang’an, deep into Central Asia by way of the Gansu Corridor and Tarim Basin. Benjamin, C. 2013. Collective learning allows humans to be creative and record or learn information from what they see and from what they hear throughout history. Bentley, J., and Zeigler, H. 2010. Our ancestors have passed on their knowledge to us, and as time passed on, we began to develop and expand our knowledge. The highly mobile, militarized pastoralism of Inner Asia, associated with the riding of horses by the Saka/Scythians and other groups, probably did not emerge until early in the first millennium BCE (Christian et al. Video: The Common Man. We didn't descend from chimps or bonobos — they're just our cousins. Silk Roads Studies Series. The uprising of the Homogeneous species was brought upon by the following ingredients and goldilocks condition: powerful brains, adaptable language, and a new type of interaction between individuals and others. Intelligence gained through collective learning often leads to power. The dhow was filled with tens of thousands of carefully packaged Tang ceramic plates and bowls, along with many gold and silver objects. It shows what happened from the big bang, or from God creating the heavens and the earth. 4. Big History and Collective Learning. Humans use collective learning in their everyday life in order to communicate, and establish society as it is today. Big History: Between Nothing and Everything. (eds. Intelligence gained through collective learning often leads to power. The primary function of the Silk Roads during both periods was to facilitate trade. 3–30). This opportunity allows students to investigate the history of an item or commodity through multiple thresholds and various disciplines. Second Silk Roads Era c. 600 – c. 1000 CE. Big History and Collective Learning. In Hodder, I., Isaac, G., and Hammond, N. It's a story about us. As a result of this interaction, despite the diversity of participants, the history of Afro-Eurasia has preserved a certain underlying unity, expressed in common technologies, artistic styles, cultures and religions, even disease and immunity patterns, a unity that was to have profound implications for subsequent world history. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. ( Log Out /  These huge demographic losses, which happened at the same time as the decline of previously stable agrarian civilizations (the Han Dynasty disintegrated in 220 CE, the Kushan and Parthian Empires collapsed under pressure from Sasanian invaders a decade or so later, and the Roman Empire experienced a series of crises throughout the first half of the third century) meant that, for the next several centuries, the prevailing political situation in many parts of Afro-Eurasia was not conducive to large-scale commercial exchange. Its founder, Mani (216–272 CE) was a fervent missionary who traveled extensively throughout the region and also dispatched disciples. The result was that there developed, over several millennia, entire lifeways based mainly on pastoralism, capable of exploiting the arid lands that ran in a long horizontal belt from northwest Africa through Southwest Asia and Central Asia to Mongolia. Benjamin, C. 1998. Turnhout: Brepols. Project Overview. Through collective learning we are able to distinguish different people and establish a social structure. An example of collective learning can be seen when a lioness teaches her cubs to hunt. ‘Made in China’. As the smaller exchanges of the Early Agrarian Era began to expand, the enhanced collective learning that followed led to more and more significant changes in the material, artistic, social, and spiritual domains of human history. At sites in Africa, there is tantalizing evidence for innovative thinking and new technologies from 100,000 years ago or even earlier. Teacher of the Year: Finding and Tending your Fire. From the very beginning of human history the exchange of information and ideas between diverse peoples and cultures has been a prime mover in promoting change through this process of collective learning. ), Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia (pp. Also critical in facilitating these exchanges were the pastoral nomads, who formed communities that live primarily from the exploitation of domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, camels, or horses. 2013: 178). The Big History Project Tuesday, 25 October 2016. Through collective learning humans adapt to our environment without changing genetically. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. The Big History Project Tuesday, 25 October 2016. Our ancestors have passed on their knowledge to us, and as time passed on, we began to develop and expand our knowledge. Half a century after the Han began to engage with their western neighbors, Augustus came to power in Rome following a century of civil war. 2013: 181). Read each of the following passages, and then discuss with your partner or group. Big History examines our past, explains our present, and imagines our future. 6.1 How our ancestors evolved 6.2 Collective learning 6.3 How did the first humans live? Smallpox, measles, and bubonic plagues devastated the populations at either end of the routes, where people had less resistance. The Central Asian religion of Manichaeism also benefitted from the silk routes after it emerged in Mesopotamia in the third century CE. Humans use collective learning in their everyday life in order to communicate, and establish society as it is today. The survival of the first century CE seaman's handbook, the Periplus of the Erythrian Sea, has provided historians with a detailed account of maritime commerce at that time (Ibid. how collective learning forges a strong connection between human history and cosmology, geology, and biology, through what is widely recognized as one of the ‘unifying themes’ of Big History – the rise of complexity in the Universe. This growing, multi-disciplinary approach is focused on high school students, yet designed for anyone seeking answers to the big questions about the history of our Universe. The Big History timeline has multiple ideas form all sorts of times. Benjamin, C. 2007a. Vol. McNeil, W. H. 1998. China and the Dar al-Islam were clearly engaged in intense commercial exchanges during this second Silk Roads Era, and Arab mariners undertaking lengthy seagoing voyages were maintaining this vibrant trans-Afro-Eurasian web late in the first millennium of the Common Era. Human language… allows more precise and … October 31, 2017 November 30, 2017 Big History Project BHP and ELA, BHP General. Why collective learning? (eds. Threshold 6: Humans and Collective Learning. Some innovations increased the possibility for collective learning among agrarian civilizations. This physical representation then spread along the Silk Roads, penetrating south to Sri Lanka and east to China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia (Benjamin 1998, 2009). As with the first Silk Roads Era, although the material exchanges were important and impressive, the cultural exchanges seem in retrospect of even greater significance. Hungry for Han Goods? The winds blow reliably from the southwest in summer, allowing heavily laden trade ships to sail across the Indian Ocean from the coast of Africa to India. Big History examines our past, explains our present, and imagines our future Journey through nearly 14 billion years of history in this self-guided, six-hour version of Big History. Benjamin, C. 2009. At the same time, in Eurasia, new types of tools and new kinds of art started to appear. : 30–32). Collective Learning COLLECTIVE LEARNING SNAP JUDGEMENT We have to look at the following statements and quickly decide whether they are true or false. The Silk Roads are the quintessential example of the interconnectedness of civilizations during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations, and the exchanges that occurred along them resulted in the most significant collective learning so far experienced by the human species. Because of this regular commingling the very idea of distinct agrarian civilizations with rigid borders is misleading. Gallery: What Makes Humans Different? Volgograd, Russia It helps explain STUDENT MATERIALS CULTURE AND COLLECTIVE LEARNING DEBATE Purpose In this activity, you’re asked to think about collective learning and its relationship to culture. In Big History, the theories never end. The Kushans in World History. When Zhang Qian returned after an epic journey of twelve years, he convinced the emperor that friendly relations could be established with many of the states of the ‘Western Regions’ because they were ‘hungry for Han goods’ (Benjamin 2007b: 3–30). Collective Learning (Part 1) Why Human Evolution Matters. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 6.2 ACTIVITY 2. One idea is passed from one person to the next, and is improved upon. Big history is the collective history of everything from every human's perspective. The consolidation of these states established order and stability over a vast and previously fragmented geopolitical environment. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Big history is the collective history of everything from every human's perspective. Arts and humanities Big History Project 6. Humans and Collective Learning. 1 Definition. It can also tell us much about the impact of these zones coming together. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The borders of agrarian civilizations were more often vague regions within which the control of rulers fluctuated or was contested by the claims of neighbors or local rulers. Volleyball is a great example of collective learning, and also is very relevant to the idea of change over time. In western Eurasia, the major land route departed from the great trading cities of Roman Syria, crossed the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, then climbed across the Iranian Plateau toward Afghanistan (then known as Bactria). Extensive internal road networks were constructed, great advances were made in metallurgy and transport technology, agricultural production was intensified, and coinage appeared for the first time. What is collective learning and how have humans used it? (eds. But collective learning likely predates 50,000 years ago. Collective learning can refer to different concepts: . Collective Learning Acoustic guitars tie into the collective learning threshold because without collective learning, the guitar wouldn't have been invented and evolved The history of the acoustic guitar can be traced back to about 1400 BC and it is used to make all types of music During the Era of Agrarian Civilizations (c. 3000 BCE – 1750 CE) human communities did not exist in isolation. Why Labels for Ideas Are Essential. It is a very prominent broad trend that sweeps across all human history. Through collective learning we are able to distinguish different people and establish a social structure. Collective Learning Agriculture Expansion and Interconnection The Modern Revolution The Little Big History of Watches References Reference Part 2 Big History From the Beginning of time to the world we know today. To survive the harsh winters, the camel grows a long, shaggy coat, which it sheds extremely rapidly as the season warms up. The Periplus demonstrates that sailors had discovered the secrets of the monsoon ‘trade’ winds. By the late fourth century, during a period of disunity in China, much of the population of northern China had adopted Buddhism, and by the sixth century much of southern China as well. With its promise of salvation, Buddhism seriously challenged Daoism and Confucianism for the hearts and minds of many Chinese, and in the end the syncretic faith of Chan Buddhism (Zen Buddhism in Japan) emerged as a popular compromise (Christian et al. The comingling of so many goods, ideas, and diseases around a geographical hub located deep in central Eurasia was the catalyst for an extraordinary increase in the complexity of human relationships and collective learning, a complexity that helped drive our species inexorably along a path towards the modern revolution. ), Pattern of the Past: Studies in Honor of David Clarke (pp. Collective learning increases when there is greater diversity within a network Rule 3 Uneven distributions of information produce uneven distributions of power and wealth Positive feedback cycles compound the effects of these three rules, accelerating collective learning Collective learning worked differently in the world zones. You'll find every chapter full of great activities to keep you entertained and test your learning. As confederations of pastoralists, states and large-scale agrarian civilizations expanded and stretched their boundaries, they joined together to form larger systems. Keywords: Silk Roads, Collective Learning, Agrarian Civilizations, Afro-Eurasia, trade. Collective learning is the increase in complexity over time as ideas and knowledge are preserved, spread and built up upon among communities. In Gervers, M., and Long, G. 19–45). The Han became involved in the late-second century BCE after Emperor Wudi dispatched envoy Zhang Qian on a diplomatic and exploratory mission into Central Asia. Activity: Claim Testing – Collective Learning. From the very beginning of human history the exchange of information and ideas between diverse peoples and cultures has been a prime mover in promoting change through this process of collective learning. History of dogs The Beginning Evolution Collective Learning New Breeds The Future Little Big History Project: threshold 6: The next threshold I chose was collective learning because every species must grow and evolve by learning from each other. Delicately made stone tools may have appeared 200,000 years ago. It helps explain why the zones had such different histories. Silk Roads exchanges play an even more significant role in the big history narrative. IX. ( Log Out /  Humans are cable of doing this because of our powerful brains and language. An example of cultural exchange that led to enhanced collective learning was the spread of artistic ideas and techniques, particularly the diffusion eastwards of syncretistic sculptural styles that developed in the second century CE in the workshops of Gandhara (in Pakistan) and Mathura (in India), where the first ever representation of the Buddha was conceived (Ibid. Tag: Collective Learning. It is generally conceptualized as a dynamic and cumulative process that results in the production of knowledge. The primary function of the Silk Roads was to facilitate trade, but the intellectual, social, and artistic exchanges that resulted had an even greater impact on collective learning. The output from these workshops reflects the sort of synthesis typical of the intensity of collective learning during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations. Aspects of the Secondary Products Revolution. The animal that made Silk Roads trade possible in the eastern and central regions of Afro-Eurasia was the Bactrian camel. The diagram opposite is a very simple map of the relations between three people (or perhaps three groups of people). 31–50). The bulk of overland Silk Roads trade was literally carried on the backs of these extraordinary animals (Christian et al. This is often called collective learning. The Tang bowls were functional and intended for the ninth-century equivalent of a ‘mass market’. Big History and Collective Learning. Keywords: complexity, collective learning, demographic cycles, … Advances in transportation, communication, and road systems also helped to increase connections and increase collective learning. This restored peace and stability to much of Western Afro-Eurasia, leading to a sharp increase in the demand for luxury goods in Rome, particularly for spices and exotic textiles like silk (Benjamin 2009: 30–32). Plagues and People. It is a continuous chain of ideas about the universe. Collective learning Scale What is Big History? administration to fund a seven-day Big History Summer Institute in May 2010. An Introduction to Kushan Research. Our curiosity and our ability to cooperate and collectively learn are the essential ingredients in the Big History story of us. Native to the steppes of Central Asia, the two-humped Bactrian camel is a supreme example of superb evolutionary adaptation. As the smaller exchanges of the Early Agrarian Era began to expand, the enhanced collective learning that followed led to more and more significant changes in the material, artistic, social, and spiritual domains of human history. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 8.3 COLLECTIVE LEARNING & WORLD TRAVELERS. in collective learning. The Silk Roads also illustrate another key theme in Big History – evolving complexity at all scales. The firing date of the bowls was carefully noted in the ship's manifest. After a long day of work, I had to come back to school and hope my presentation ran so long that I wouldn’t have time to answer any questions from parents I might be unprepared for. This joining together of previously separated human communities led to a steep increase in levels of collective learning and complexity that had regional and global ramifications. In China, populations fell from perhaps 60 million in 200 CE to 45 million by 600 CE (Bentley and Zeigler 2010: 282). National Geographic Magazine (June 2009): 112–123. New York: McGraw-Hill. This helped facilitate the emergence and spread of Mahayana (or Great Vehicle) Buddhism, partly because the scriptures were now written in a language the common people could understand, and not one that could be read only by religious elites (Benjamin 2013). The major Chinese export commodity in demand in Rome was silk, an elegant, translucent, sensual material that soon came to be regarded as the last word in fashion by wealthy patrician women. Through collective learning humans adapt to our environment without changing genetically. Collective learning is the ability to share information so efficiently that the ideas of individuals can be stored within the collective memory of communities and can accumulate through generations. It is sometimes used as a global term for everything that is cooperative, collaborative, etc. The well-traveled trade routes from India through the Kushan realm and into China facilitated the spread of Buddhist ideas which, because they offered the hope of salvation to all regardless of caste or status, was already popular with India's merchants and businessmen. Around for only 250,000 years, we are truly one of the most complex things in the cosmos. Practice: Quiz: Collective Learning. This is the currently selected item. By 166 CE, the Han emperor himself was sacrificing to the Buddha, and the Sutra on the ‘Perfection of the Gnosis’ was translated into Chinese by 179 CE. The more they did this, however, the more nomadic they had to be, so that they could graze their animals over large areas. Start studying Big History Threshold #6: Early Humans and Collective Learning. Big History and Collective Learning Summer Day Camp 2018/19 (NEW!) history, ideas, customs that Polo recorded gave Europeans insight into an impressive but little-known culture and helped to grow the collective learning of the time. Significant information on the geography of the western part of the Silk Roads has come to us from a document produced early in the first century CE – Parthian Stations – written by a Parthian Greek merchant Isodorus of Charax (Benjamin 2009: 30–32). The 66-year-old American-born academic is now a professor at San Diego State University … ), Kanishka I, Kushan Dynastic Religion, and Buddhism. Big history is a giant web, instead of a straight time-line. Event Highlights. increased the opportunities for collective learning. Only with the biological evolution and then human domestication of the silk worm and the Bactrian camel did the Chinese have an export commodity valuable enough, and a transport mechanism hardy enough, to justify and facilitate the expensive and complex expeditions necessary to allow the Chinese merchants to join the pre-existing Afro-Eurasian exchange network. Collective learning worked differently in the world zones. Or, as I like to say, a story of collective learning. The two humps on its back are composed of sustaining fat and its long eyelashes and sealable nostrils help to keep out dust in the frequent sandstorms. The Kushan monarchs were not only effective political and military rulers; they also demonstrated a remarkable appreciation of art and were patrons of innovative sculpture workshops within their empire. © 2013 Uchitel Publishing House. Learning emerges because of interactive mechanisms where individual knowledge is … Perhaps, the most important spiritual consequence of material exchange was the spread of religions across Afro-Eurasia, particularly Mahayana Buddhism, which moved from India through Central Asia to China and East Asia. Up Next. The exact chronology of the origins and spread of pastoralism remains obscure, but certainly by the middle to late fourth millennium BCE the appearance of burial mounds across the steppes of Inner Asia indicates that some communities that were dependent upon herds or flocks of domestic animals had become semi-nomadic. The Chinese, realizing the commercial value of their monopoly on silk, carefully guarded the secret of silk production, and border guards in Dunhuang searched merchants to make sure they were not carrying any actual silk worms out of the country. Between 600–1000 CE, thousands of Buddhist stupas and temples were constructed in China. Collective learning is sharing information from an individual to another as well as passing it down from generation to generation. interactions between individuals and between communities. 10 11 SIMPLE NETWORKSThe connections between people form a network of exchange A model of collective learning networks Now we need to start thinking about how collective learning works in dif- ferent periods of human history. (eds. Significant linkages developed during the era in the Americas, Australasia, and the Pacific, but the four zones were so isolated from each other that human populations in each remained utterly ignorant of events in the others. Collective learning to a certain degree distinguishes us as Until this moment the Buddha had never been depicted in human form, but had instead been represented by symbols including an umbrella or footprints in the sand. Early Humans 6.2—Collective Learning. RAPID ACCELERATION By David Christian COLLECTIVE LEARNING 3. This happened because Greek merchants and colonists followed in the footsteps of Alexander and spread Greek language, art, religion, philosophy, and law throughout much of the region. There were varying degrees of nomadism, ranging from groups that had no permanent settlements at all to communities like the Andronovo that were largely sedentary and lived in permanent settlements. The commingling of so many goods, ideas, and diseases around a geographical hub located deep in central Eurasia was the catalyst for an extraordinary increase in the complexity of human relationships and collective learning, a complexity that drove our species inexorably along a path towards the modern revolution. 1981. Christianity eventually spread further to the east along the Silk Roads, through Mesopotamia and Iran, into India, and eventually into China. Trade with China and Central Asia for such high-value goods cost the Romans a fortune. In winter the winds reverse, and the same ships carrying new cargo would make the return journey to the Red Sea. Vol. The physical contexts that made the Silk Roads possible were the product of billions of years of geological change and biological evolution. Through collective learning we are able to distinguish different people and establish a social structure. Decorative patterns painted or glazed on the various items – including Buddhist, Iranian, and Islamic motifs – show the specific market the goods were intended for. Ironically, Silk Roads trade itself was at least partly responsible for this disengagement, because it contributed to the spread of disastrous epidemic diseases. … After 1492, goods, ideas, peoples, crops, animals, and diseases were shared between the world zones. Since wolves/dogs were so intelligent humans used that to their advantage and once domesticated they were able to learn off each other through their actions and behavior. 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What is collective learning collective learning is a great example of collective learning. spread. To provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere 's manifest click an to... 2 3 in the third century CE after 1492, goods, ideas,,! Dynastic religion, and is improved upon Polo is describing in the cosmos,. Ancient and modern zones, although not between them N. ( eds 6: Early humans and collective Big!