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Old October 9th, 2017, 06:50 PM   #1

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What comes after a complete understanding of world history?


I've been studying history in my spare time for about five years now, and in that time I've come to something looking like a complete understanding of world history.

Obviously there are many events and processes that I don't know or haven't come across, but generally I'm aware of how life came to be, how it evolved, why civilisation arose, and how culture and economics spread throughout the world over the last several thousand years.

My assumption then, is that there are many other people in this forum who've reached the same point in their historical studies. They might not know everything, but they have a generally complete understanding of human societies.

So the question is: if you've reached that point, what came next for you? What topics did you pursue? Did you move away from history altogether? If so, what did you move to?
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Old October 9th, 2017, 11:58 PM   #2
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I haven't reached that point yet, but take a look at the forum , and you see topics on music, art and literature, books, the lounge/ which only have a slight relationship to history per sse. I suspect those that got bored with history in general either focused more narrowly on some particular time and place of history, working to get an ever deeper knowledge, or they just moved on to anothet ttopic like you suggest.

But I don't think you can ever know history completely. You can reach a point where your knowledge satisfies your curiosity, though, and you don't desire to know the subject in further detail, what you know is adequate for you, In that case, you find another topic to become interested in. I think that has happeneend to some otner posters, which is why you see all the threads which are not really related to history.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 12:53 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltaires Hat View Post
I've been studying history in my spare time for about five years now, and in that time I've come to something looking like a complete understanding of world history.

Obviously there are many events and processes that I don't know or haven't come across, but generally I'm aware of how life came to be, how it evolved, why civilisation arose, and how culture and economics spread throughout the world over the last several thousand years.

My assumption then, is that there are many other people in this forum who've reached the same point in their historical studies. They might not know everything, but they have a generally complete understanding of human societies.

So the question is: if you've reached that point, what came next for you? What topics did you pursue? Did you move away from history altogether? If so, what did you move to?
I've been studying history for more than 30 years, and like Bart Dale said, I still didn’t reach that point.

The problem is that World History is all history of the world since the first hominids appear, some 5 million years ago, and personally I think that there isn’t a living human being able to have a complete understanding of it. That is why we read synthesis, small pictures of the reality. They are brief summaries. That is why historians write synthesis. That is why we need synthesis, because we cannot embrace the all, due its hugeness. But that leads us to other problem, if we synthesise too much we walk away from the details, we walk away from the reality, sometimes to the point that a synthesis as so many holes, so many exceptions and particular cases that it just doesn’t fit.

So, we slice history. Sliced history is much more manageable. It is smaller, so it is much more understandable. We slice in regions, in cultures, in timelines, in themes…

The historians, and history students, generally pick comfort zones of that sliced history, their “expertise area”.

Furthermore picking a shorter field of analysis makes the student (the historian is always a student) drive away from the huge World synthesis and dive into the monographs, and into the “raw materials” of history, the sources, especially the primary sources.

So to answer to your question, once we have a general idea of a theme, we pick a subtheme from the previous, a subtheme that we like and that we want to explore even further. In other words, we choose a smaller “object” of study, and dissect it to exhaustion. Paraphrasing some historians: “The last word in history is yet to be written”.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 01:52 AM   #4
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What does a "complete understanding" even mean here? There are so many gaps where we donīt know what happened.
Then I will add I think so much of history cannot be understood by looking only at "history" itself, but that some understanding of other topics is needed. Here I think geography and the earth and oceans and human natural environment in particular, but on the other hand I think I have demonstrated such views in many other threads here.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 02:13 AM   #5

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What does a "complete understanding" even mean here? There are so many gaps where we donīt know what happened.
Then I will add I think so much of history cannot be understood by looking only at "history" itself, but that some understanding of other topics is needed. Here I think geography and the earth and oceans and human natural environment in particular, but on the other hand I think I have demonstrated such views in many other threads here.
By “history” under comas you are probably just referring to some narratives. Some stories of history. History is a multidisciplinarity science/area of knowledge, and it has been that for many decades, to say the least. And in the last decades, more and more the sciences are and have multidisciplinarity fields. So we agree on that. Fields of mathematics, statistics, computing, chemistry, physics, biology, genetics… invade and are being invaded by the fields of history.

I am just posting, answering to you, because you wrote “I think I have demonstrated such views in many other threads here.”. That made me curious. Can you point them? And sorry for the out of topic entry.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 02:51 AM   #6
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By “history” under comas you are probably just referring to some narratives.
Narratives and research, related to human activities and records of those from the past. Actions by men and social and economic processes.
But little about the natural "setting".
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I am just posting, answering to you, because you wrote “I think I have demonstrated such views in many other threads here.”. That made me curious. Can you point them? And sorry for the out of topic entry.
Here some threads were I wrote about geograhical factors.

1:Questions related to european overseas expansion.
2:North American geography and its role in recent history
Those two were started by me.

How is it possible for European (and American) people to have changed so much? p.2
But I also posted in other threads like
Rivers and Civilizations p2.
The cause of European dominance

Christian Europe's Survival through containment against all odds. p.5
And in older ones.
As I see it if some country or region achieved a lot in certain fields over centuries we should look at geographical factors, that favoured those developments at that stage in history. Examples:Britain, and England in particular had an advantegous geographical location for being dominant commercial and maritime power. Western Europe leading the rest into the modern global world had so much to do with its particular geographical "setting". And I speculate if not there were parralels for ancient Greek and Roman dominance centered on the Meditterranean shores.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 03:04 AM   #7

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Thanks for the thread themes Fantasus. I will take a look.

I agree with you, but wasn’t geography one of the first, not to say the first, science/area of knowledge that was related with history?

It has been assumed for decades, or even centuries, not to say millenniums (Strabo comes to my mind), that geography influences man and its history. It is part of the standard paradigm for long. The relation of history with other areas of knowledge (mathematics, biology…) is much more recent.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 03:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Voltaires Hat View Post

So the question is: if you've reached that point, what came next for you? What topics did you pursue? Did you move away from history altogether? If so, what did you move to?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You are asking a question equals to "what will we do when we reach nirvana?". The answer is never, you never reach that point.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 03:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for the thread themes Fantasus. I will take a look.

I agree with you, but wasn’t geography one of the first, not to say the first, science/area of knowledge that was related with history?

It has been assumed for decades, or even centuries, not to say millenniums (Strabo comes to my mind), that geography influences man and its history. It is part of the standard paradigm for long. The relation of history with other areas of knowledge (mathematics, biology…) is much more recent.
I find You are on the one hand basically right: history was from its beginning connected with geography, though I think the way let us say Herodotus saw that link is different from our view (He also had different views from ours of geography, I am sure).
On the other hand by reading and following lectures (not recently) in History I found it seemed to me such a relationship was largely ignored by many historians (not all) or at least not given enough attention.

Last edited by Fantasus; October 10th, 2017 at 03:43 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2017, 04:13 AM   #10
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If you believe you have a complete understanding of history, you clearly understand very little.
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