The Ottoman History and Paradigmatic Principles of the History -xıv- (*)
When we look at what is included as the curriculum in the scope of the subject of “Big History”, it appears that the cosmogony of the universe starting with the narrative based on astrophysics is discussed at the first stage as mentioned.
The story in this context begins with the “Big Bang” that is considered to have occurred 13,8 billions years ago within the Planck Time that is expressed as 10-43 seconds from a point singularity of high intensity and heat as a result of quantum fluctuations. Following this incomprehensible event, the narrative continues with the description of formation of the universe with four cosmic dimensions, three of space and one of time, that occurred with the cosmic expansion in the shape of inflation that took place within a period of one hundred billionth of a second.
Although there are some nuances among the authors in the content of the curriculum that follows, information is provided mostly about the formation of galactic nebula that was the result of the energy / matter transformation that had appeared with cosmic expansion.
The backbone of the curriculum in this respect is composed of the information about the process in which hydrogen nucleus, namely proton, that emerged as the primordial substance in one hundredth of a second following the Big Bang and the inflation and the helium nucleus that was synthesized from it by nuclear fusion get stabilized. Thus, galactic nebulae and primary stars that provided the first light of the universe at the end of the 379 thousand years that had passed for the matter to get stabilized provide us with an earliest picture of the universe that we can see by creating the ancient universe. The next part of the story of cosmic evolution includes the narrative about the formation of heavier elements as a result of internal crash and explosion due to gravity of these primary stars that depleted their nuclear fuel in a very short time by converting their hydrogen into helium through stellar fusion. Stars of the secondary type occur as the condensation products of the nebulae that included the light elements in the primary stars of the first type and the heavy elements at the rate of one thousandth that occurred during the death of those stars with the super nova. The formation of planetary systems by those stars that include the sun as well is located at the focal point of the narrative of the next segment as the development story of the modern universe currently in the case of our system only.
Although the geological and ecological story forms the basis of the narrative focused on the biosphere and biological evolution for the globe due to being the only place of vitality that is known yet, it stands out that rather different themes can be noticed among the authors in the weighting of the curriculum here. While an author constructs the theme in terms of human ecology, another one can put it forth on the axis of world geography. Also, the weight is given by some authors to the aspect of history in handling the issue through the adoption of a paleo-anthropologically weighted theme in line with a prehistoric approach.
On the other hand, adoption of a decentralized curriculum is also possible by diversifying the areas underlying the narrative, instead of focusing on a particular aspect and weighting the curriculum in that direction. Astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry, evolutionary biology, paleontology, anthropology, archeology disciplines are all used effectively in such treatments. In this case, the backbone of the narrative’s theme is based on the natural history and environmental (ecological) geography. As the subject was based in previous treatments on one of the bipolar upper categorial views as the history or science, it is clear that the third upper categorial view apart from these two could be over the natural history and environmental (ecological) geography.
It seems that the environmental (ecological) phenomenon appears to have been adopted mostly as the main theme for this new form of narrative of the broadest history. However, a situation with two preferences comes forward here as well. While one is the approach that treats our planet as a live holistic whole in the style of Gaia Theory, the other adopts the analytic-reductionist approach based on the ecosystem.
Another issue that should not be passed without mentioning about the Big History is the question of what the stigmergic essence directing the whole narrative is all about. It is known in such types of processes for formation and flow of information that the time arrow, namely the entropy as the second law of thermodynamics, is inevitably active as the order–disrupting agent. Moving from the point that information, which is the essential ingredient of energy dissipative structures trying to overcome disruptiveness by setting up and feeding a system, goes against entropy, it would be correct to say that the phenomenon of complexation constantly increasing in the space / time flow was the stigmergic essence and that it managed the process.
In fact, David Christian, who coined the term of “Big History,” discusses the subject even in his first book (**) by constructing it as an eight-step complexation process developing in the space / time flow. It is seen that the same structuring in the same curriculum has been adopted by the author in his new book that he co-authored with two other authors, C. S. Brown and C. Benjamin (***).
To put it in general if necessary, as the 21st Century moves forward, according to my opinion, towards the tendency to become the age of grasping the universe through a holistic perspective, the adoption of the Big History design as the most appropriate historical approach based on the holistic understanding would be the right choice.
(Mustafa Özcan, 17.01.2016)
(*) To be continued.
(**) Christian. D. , Maps of Time: An Inroduction to Big History, University of California Press, 2004.
(***)Christian, D. , C.S. Brown and C. Benjamin, Big History: Between Nothing and Everything, McGraw-Hill Education, 2014.