A Thousand Years of NonLinear History

A Thousand Years of NonLinear History is a must read for anyone remotely interested in cylical or systems thinking.  To approach the history of mankind with the same model as a scientists approaches a thermodynamics problem could be one of the most ingenious ideas I’ve read to date.  De Landa walks you (through myriads of systems storytelling) into the philosophical world of Lavas and Magmas, Flesh and Genes, and Memes and Norms on a quest, not for optimum efficiency or evolutionary fitness, but for a moment or two of balance between the phase shifts that are our historic eras.     In my opinion, every scientist, designer and thinker should read this book – if only for the priveledge of following the thoughts of such a well-learned man.

Check out some of my favorite quotes, ideas and the loads of references I’ll be reading up on:

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Brevity

On the geologic time scale, a human lifetime is reduced to a brevity that is too inhibiting to think about. The mind blocks the information. Geologists, dealing always with deep time, find that it seeps into their beings and affects them in various ways. They see the unbelievable swiftness with which one evolving species on the earth has learned to reach into the dirt of some tropical island and fling 747s into the sky. They see the thin band in which are the all but indiscernible stratifications of Cro-Magnon, Moses, Leonardo, and now. Seeing a race unaware of its own instantaneous in time, they can reel off all the species that have come and gone, with emphasis on those that have specialized themselves to death.

John McPhee,  Annals of a Former World