For the new year, here is Professor Alan Charles Kors summarizing the entire human history in 60 seconds - hmm...this is the most efficient way of learning history. (On a longer timescale, Alan Charles Kors has done an excellent Teaching Company course titled, The Birth of the Modern Mind: The intellectual history of 17th and 18th centuries)
Here is the transcript of the 60 second lecture:
Alan Charles Kors
George H. Walker Endowed Term Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania
- First, tribes: tough life.
- The defaults beyond the intimate tribe were violence, aversion to difference, and slavery. Superstition: everywhere.
- Culture overcomes them partially.
- Rainfall agriculture, which allows loners.
- Irrigation agriculture, which favors community.
- Division of labor plus exchange in trade bring mutual cooperation, even outside the tribe.
- The impulse is always there, though: "Kill or enslave the outsider."
- Gradual science from Athens' compact with reason.
- Division of labor, trade, the mastery of knowledge, plus time brought surplus, sometimes a peaceful extended order and, rules diversely evolved and, the cooperation of strangers - always warring against the fierce defaults of tribalism, violence, and ignorance.
- No one who teaches you knows what will happen.
A perfect way to start 2008!