Historical cycles in the last 5000 years

Jul 2017
288
Srpska
#11
The shape of the curve is consistent with catastrophic events. Subsequent steep falls are indicative of a first natural catastrophic event followed by leveling off, and then another perhaps human made catastrophic fall, maybe even a disease, which is followed by a quick bounce back.

In that sense, the research should probably focus on natural catastrophic events and societies in the immediate aftermath.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,249
Albuquerque, NM
#12
Like the Nordicdemonsthenies above, I'm very skeptical for some of the same reasons he's already noted. History as we study it is about people and how the relate to their environment. That involves how large and secure their niche is in time/space. There are two very different periods you have to reconcile: A period where the world was too large and difficult and humans basically were isolated from the rest of humanity, and a second period that should be subdivided itself. Antiquity to late Classical Antiquity ... roughly 5000 BCE until roughly the 5th century CE. This encompasses a time when groups traded with one another, consolidated their basic cultural values experimenting with different approaches to government and law, our relationship to the Universe (religion and what has become Science), and the shift from nomadic life set the stage for all that came afterward. This is a period that we all should be interested in, because it is where our World began.

The 5th century is only a convenient marker, because the Fall of Rome set in motion much of what was to follow in Europe, though the 5th century is wildly wrong if we exclude Europe and focus our analysis elsewhere. Rome was so large and so dominant as the world sorted itself into spheres of influence, that it really has to be studied separately. During the 5-9th centuries Europe was still in shock at the loss of what folks believed would last forever, or almost. It was a period of transition that was chaotic and difficult while smaller groups fought for survival and dominance of Europe ... to be the heir of Rome was a heady ambition. Literacy, never even close to universal fell further behind while religion and government joined hands to survive and make their own little chauvinistic friends secure. It wasn't really "DARK", it's just that the candle's flame was guttering across most of Europe. By the beginning of the 10th century we can witness the birth of modern nation states. Time, distance, greed, pride, arrogance and a host of other variables resulted in conflicts that are arguably still at least luke-warm. The European "Dark Ages" were just a opening act in the later European drama. Even then the World was a very big place where some regions and countries flourished while others didn't do so well. Abrahamism became the world's dominant religion, and True Believers joined the merchants and mariners to invent modern life. Its probably futile to try to fix a date, but I'll throw out the mid-17th century as the next fin-de-cycle

Why? Pandemics and religious wars bled out the Continent. Wealth was left behind to fund the building of Monarchies and development of technologies that greatly increased the potential for 'progress". The New World opened minds and hearts to the possibilities for humans (meaning to those alive at the time ... us). Measuring stuff, collecting facts and information sped analysis along, and with it improvements in keeping time, harnessing nature's phenomenons for human purposes, and expansion over the less powerful (a our natural inclination to self-interest), and the modern world grew teeth. The American and French Revolutions grew out of The Enlightenment. The Masses suddenly became more visibly important to effective government, and government was gaining the technical tools to dominate. The World, the West actually, began dividing sheep and goats far beyond any capability at least the Paleolithic ... which hung on well into the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The bottom-line is that we are forced to study all the little pictures in order to understand ... even a little bit ... about what the realities were in our common and not-so common. However, I wish the best of luck, and can only suggest that mixing human history with anything so pure as mathematics is going to cause you a lot of terrible work.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,249
Albuquerque, NM
#13
Oh another BTW ... if we could ever resolve the fundamental question is: "The Universe is finite or infinite, or whether mathematics (the purest form of thought we know) is capable of resolving the question?" From that we might move on to the associated question about the nature of Reality. Is Perceptual Reality a Grand Illusion, or are what we commonly regard as facts to treated with suspicion. I tend to fall in the latter group, and admit its more a matter of faith and living a long life that forms the basis for that belief.
 
Likes: Kotromanic
Oct 2013
14,275
Europix
#14
1. Quantum mechanics and general relativity govern the physical world: are they axiomatic?
2. Sure, but I always thought of randomness as a special kind of determinism...
Thank You.

I was thinking at "determinism governing ..." when asking.

Of course, if we consider randomness as a special/particular form of determinism, then yes, were closing to "determinism is governing".

But:
1. are we sure randomness is determinism?

2. aren't we closing to a procustian approach?
 
#15
Thank You.

I was thinking at "determinism governing ..." when asking.

Of course, if we consider randomness as a special/particular form of determinism, then yes, were closing to "determinism is governing".

But:
1. are we sure randomness is determinism?

2. aren't we closing to a procustian approach?
1. So many philosophers have tried to argue the contrary, from Epicurus to Jacques Monod, but I am not sure that they succeeded... My opinion is that free will is fundamentally different from both necessity and chance.
2. Are you asking if my approach is dogmatic?
 
Oct 2013
14,275
Europix
#16
2. Are you asking if my approach is dogmatic?
Not at all.

In my experience, we have the reflex to "force" small aberations/deviations/exceptions for keeping the theory/equation simple, neat, clear. You know, like in finding the right constant needed for the equation to be valid. Sometimes is the right thing to do, sometimes not that much


As You try to modelize an extremely vast domain, I am just wondering if a (or more) procustian trap isn't on Your path.

________
PS: just to clarify - I have a very deterministic approach on history. My questions are rather curiosity, trying to understand Your approach.
 
#17
Not at all.

In my experience, we have the reflex to "force" small aberations/deviations/exceptions for keeping the theory/equation simple, neat, clear. You know, like in finding the right constant needed for the equation to be valid. Sometimes is the right thing to do, sometimes not that much


As You try to modelize an extremely vast domain, I am just wondering if a (or more) procustian trap isn't on Your path.

________
PS: just to clarify - I have a very deterministic approach on history. My questions are rather curiosity, trying to understand Your approach.
A procrustean solution is the practice of tailoring data to fit some preconceived structure.
- No, as long as I'm in a "trial and error" mode, I don't have time to tailor data.
- Yes, when the "trial and error" mode ends, one structure will remain that fits most of the data. The few data that don't fit will be dealt with either by assuming they are wrong (historiography is full of blunders and myths) or by setting them aside awaiting for a future correction to the structure.
 
Jan 2015
2,902
MD, USA
#18
Sorry, but I'm extremely baffled, here. First of all, how can you possibly apply mathematics to human experience?? For starters, all of the dates and points (high and low) on the graph seem completely random and subjective. They also do not seem to follow a fixed scale--the spacing of various points seems a bit off, but without a marked scale it's hard to tell. That would seem to be a crucial point if you are trying to calculate curves. But worse, all the high points are at the same level, as are all the low points. This means that every good thing was exactly as good as every other good thing, and the same for bad things. That's just ludicrous.

But worse, "UP" or "DOWN" *from what point of view*??? The destruction of some great city may be seen as a low point by the inhabitants and their successors, but it may be a legendary victory--or maybe just a footnote--to someone who lives on the other side of the river.

Also, why assume all those curves are the same shape??? History and human existence simply didn't happen that way.

Mind you, I can't begin to follow all the methodology and jargon, here! I'm a hardware guy. But I DO know that part of the problem we still have in studying things like the Mycenaean civilization is that Victorian historians assumed that every civilization in the past had a beginning, a Golden Age in the middle, and an even decline to oblivion. So every culture was viewed in that light and arbitrarily divided into phases or periods, with no regard whatsoever to the actual archeological or literary evidence. Now we know that's all complete bunk, and bears no relation to reality, but we're still stuck with those old nomenclatures and they color our thinking.

It looks to me like you're doing the same thing, here, only on a wider scale. And, far worse, with the apparent assumption that there are "cycles" in history, or possibly that human experience is somehow determined or controlled somehow?? (I know nothing of the philosophies or deeper theories involved!) History *caused* by math??

This is way beyond bizarre, to me...

Matthew
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,651
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#19
Isaac Asimov postulated the application of mathematics to large scale human interactions, which could then be used to predict history.

He called it "psychohistory". Today, we might call it "big data".
 
Likes: Kotromanic
Feb 2013
4,299
Coastal Florida
#20
What does the top horizontal line represent? In 1920 bce, Egypt was riding high during its Middle Kingdom. But, is Egypt the standard for this graph? If so, it seems odd that you have a decline spanning the entirety of the New Kingdom when Ancient Egypt, in addition to other states like the Hittite Empire, achieved the apex of their imperial powers. And what's so great about what was happening in the Near & Middle East around 933 bce? Of course, I guess some Neo-Hittite states were doing okay at the time but they were nothing compared to New Kingdom Egypt or its Hittite contemporaries. Then you show a ~170-year decline from 933 to 769 when the Neo-Assyrian Empire was actually on the upswing during this period. To me, it seems like a good way to identify confirmation bias. You just pick a good or bad thing that happened which fits the graph at a particular point and ignore everything else going on at the same time which contradicts it.
 
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Likes: Matthew Amt

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