Big history is a giant web, instead of a straight time-line. 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. 5th ed. 2013: 178). 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. Our ancestors have passed on their knowledge to us, and as time passed on, we began to develop and expand our knowledge. One idea is passed from one person to the next, and is improved upon. The most influential of the intensified Afro-Eurasian exchange networks emerged around a trading hub located deep in Central Asia, along the Silk Roads. Benjamin, C. 1998. Eventually within the Afro-Eurasian world zone in particular, every human community was connected together within a vibrant web. Large numbers of Muslim merchants actually moved to China where they joined communities of Byzantine, Indian, and Southeast Asian migrants in the great Chinese trading cities. Read each of the following passages, and then discuss with your partner or group. Collective learning worked differently in the world zones. Just as the early universe was simple until contingent circumstances made it possible for more complex entities to appear, and that the relatively simple single-cell organisms of early life on the planet were able to evolve into an extraordinary, complex biodiversity, so human communities and the connections between them followed similar trajectories. The physical contexts that made the Silk Roads possible were the product of billions of years of geological change and biological evolution. However, with the creation of the Dar al-Islam in the eighth and ninth centuries CE, and the establishment of the Tang Dynasty in China at the same time, significant Silk Roads exchanges along both land and maritime routes revived. (eds. Humans are cable of doing this because of our powerful brains and language. The Silk Roads, both the land and maritime variants, are the quintessential example of the interconnectedness of civilizations during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations. The Han iron was prized in Rome for its exceptional hardness. Not only did the passing of disease bacteria along the Silk Roads by traders play a significant role in the depopulation and subsequent decline of both the Han and Roman Empires, but the exposure of millions of humans to these pathogens meant that antibodies spread extensively throughout the Afro-Eurasian world zone, and important immunities were built up within populations. 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. The two broad toes on each of its feet have undivided soles and are able to spread widely as an adaptation to walking on sand. 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. Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donate or volunteer today! Plagues and People. Second Silk Roads Era c. 600 – c. 1000 CE. Early Evidence of Collective Learning. Big history is the collective history of everything from every human's perspective. We didn't descend from chimps or bonobos — they're just our cousins. New financial instruments (including printed paper money) were devised to facilitate large-scale mercantile activity. Around the time Parthian Stations was being composed, the amount of trans-Afro-Eurasian trade taking place by sea was also increasing, particularly between Roman Egypt and the coast of India. After 1492, goods, ideas, peoples, crops, animals, and diseases were shared between the world zones. Big History Collective Learning 8 Public Lectures (Feb - May 2017) Big History: A Scientific Narrative of Changes from the Big Bang to Modern Society The Emerging Universe, Life and Human Society PART 4 COLLECTIVE LEARNING 9 1180L 2. Early Humans 6.2—Collective Learning. The Yuezhi. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 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. In Africa, there is strong evidence of new technologies from 100,000 years ago or even earlier. interactions between individuals and between communities. At the same time, in Eurasia, new types of tools and new kinds of art and sculpture started to emerge. ), Pattern of the Past: Studies in Honor of David Clarke (pp. Christianity eventually spread further to the east along the Silk Roads, through Mesopotamia and Iran, into India, and eventually into China. It helps explain why the zones had such different histories. At the heart of the Silk Roads network, straddling and influencing both the land and maritime routes, was the Kushan Empire (c. 45–225 CE), one of the most important yet least known agrarian civilizations in world history (Benjamin 1998, 2009). One idea is passed from one person to the next, and is improved upon. An example of collective learning can be seen when a lioness teaches her cubs to hunt. Tag: Collective Learning. Through collective learning humans adapt to our environment without changing genetically. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 8.3 COLLECTIVE LEARNING & WORLD TRAVELERS Passage One “It is a fact that all over the country of Cathay there is a kind of black … The Silk Roads also illustrate another key theme in Big History – evolving complexity at all scales. With the advent of Islam in the seventh century and the establishment of substantial Muslim merchant communities in the centuries that followed, mosques also began to appear in many Chinese cities. Big History and Collective Learning. The more they did this, however, the more nomadic they had to be, so that they could graze their animals over large areas. Fax: +7 (8442)42-17-71 The appearance of a species capable of collective learning marks a tipping point in the history of the biosphere, after which the very rules of change begin to change. But collective learning likely goes back more than 50,000 years ago. Plough and Pastoralism. On a Big History course, ... with collective learning." The 66-year-old American-born academic is now a professor at San Diego State University … Teacher of the Year: Finding and Tending your Fire. 261–305). 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. 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. 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. In Hodder, I., Isaac, G., and Hammond, N. During the Era of Agrarian Civilizations (c. 3000 BCE – 1750 CE) human communities did not exist in isolation. 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. Within a decade the Han had established a tributary relationship with dozens of city-states of Central Asia, and mercantile traffic began to flow out of China along the ancient migration routes into Central Asia. Sometimes they joined up simply because their borders met and merged, but more often they joined in a looser sense as people from one region traded with, or traveled to, or borrowed ideas from, or fought with people from other regions within and beyond agrarian civilization. In short, the idea of collective learning, for all its simplicity, predicts the long trend to increasing social complexity that we find in human history. Native to the steppes of Central Asia, the two-humped Bactrian camel is a supreme example of superb evolutionary adaptation. 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 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. You’ll argue that culture either is or is not a product of collective learning. It can also tell us much about the impact of these zones coming together. 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. Todd Nussen, Big History Teacher New York, USA Like many teachers, I used to dread Back-to-School Night. The output from these workshops reflects the sort of synthesis typical of the intensity of collective learning during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations. 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). The Great Deliverer, the Righteous, the Just, the Autocrat, the God, Worthy of Worship. Collective Learning (Part 1) Why Human Evolution Matters. Big history explains the past ,and gives us,knowledge about collective learning. The bowls required the use of cobalt for blue coloring, which was imported by the Chinese manufacturers in significant quantities from Iran. All rights reserved, Kirova street 143, To this day Buddhism remains one of the great cultural bonds shared by millions of Asian people, one of the many legacies that the modern world owes to the Silk Roads. At the same time, Arab merchants, benefiting from the stable and prosperous Abbasid administration in Baghdad, began to engage with Chinese merchants in lucrative commercial enterprises. 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). In Gervers, M., and Long, G. Some innovations increased the possibility for collective learning among agrarian civilizations. 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. In winter the winds reverse, and the same ships carrying new cargo would make the return journey to the Red Sea. Why collective learning? Christian, D., Brown, C. S., and Benjamin, C. 2013. Big History explains everthing starting with Big Bang until nowadays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Through collective learning humans adapt to our environment without changing genetically. And thats how collective learning ties into big history. This is the currently selected item. After a slow 7 million years of evolving, developing bipedalism, collectively … Collective learning is the increase in complexity over time as ideas and knowledge are preserved, spread and built up upon among communities. Some of them, including the Saka, Xiongnu, Yuezhi, and Wusun, established powerful state-like confederations that formed in the steppe lands between the agrarian civilizations. This was true within each of the individual world zones, although not between them. increased the opportunities for collective learning. 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. These four brief examples all support the claim that the Silk Roads profoundly affected the subsequent shape and direction of all human history. Benjamin, C. 2009. Video: Early Collective Learning It is important to look at how collective learning ties into the broader Big History themes developed by Eric Chaisson and Fred Spier: the rise of complexity in the Universe and energy flows. 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. Each category of exchange was important, but perhaps the most significant consequence was the spread of religion, particularly Buddhism, which became one of the key ideological and spiritual beliefs of South and East Asia during the Era. 6.4 Humans (CK) Projects Feedback 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3 6.2 Quiz Lesson Resources: Activity 6.2.1 Objectives Video: What makes humans different? Sharing information from an individual to another as well as passing it from! Money ) were devised collective learning big history facilitate trade quickly decide whether they are or! Cubs to hunt why you and I are here today discovered the secrets of the following passages and. In their everyday life in order to communicate, and establish society collective learning big history it is today earth 's.. 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