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Distance to the 20.th century

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    Posted: 12 Sep 2016 at 11:44
The topic here is admittedly to a large degree dependent upon subjective opinion and experience of historical "distance". How has the view of the century gone, in particular its early part changed as it became somewhat distant and much of it now has became not so much a part of living memory as an affair of people that are not longer alive?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2016 at 01:06
Is time circular or is time linear?  It seems like a fair number of 20th c. philosophers are going back to the presocratics, to Plato, to the medievals (Heidegger, Straussians, neothomists).  Ultra Orthodox Judaism and zionism are trying to bring back the ancient religion, a revival if you will after the destruction of European Judaism.  The Arab world, focused into Islam is trying to revive too with Fundamentalism.  Problem is, for some of these political movements they are trying to get back to a world that never existed.  And the world that did exist before world war II was devastated so completely that we can't imagine what it was like before.  Not just WWI and WWII, but the coming of the colonials, changed everything, and so now we have independent nations, but due to colonial past, their identities were fractured. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2016 at 01:29
Franciscosan:

You ask if time is circular or linear. I would think that if time was circular, we would have to accept that all that is now new is in fact old, and that intelligent human-like life once walked the earth.

The interesting thing is that if time was circular, it could explain some of the great mysteries as yet usolved by science, such as how and why some civilisations were so much more advanced technologically than others. It could explain things like the Antikythera Machine and so on.

But of course I fantasize. Time must be linear, musn't it?




Edited by toyomotor - 18 Sep 2016 at 02:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2016 at 02:11
Maybe it is coiled like a spring, or a circular staircase.  Following the trend, you eventually end up one level higher, back where you were, except not really.  Both linear and circular in a sense.

Nietzsche has a thought experiment of the eternal recurrence of the same.  Take what you did (and may have regrets about), now take everything you do in your life.  Now imagine that you have repeated this forever, and will repeat it forever on.  Now if you can take all that and accept the whole thing that you have been caught in this loop forever and will be caught in it forever.  If you can accept this, embrace it, a new possibility arises, and a new cycle can start.

Kind of a twist on the old idea of reincarnation, but it doesn't mean the repeat will happen on this time scale, could be a new universe, new big bang, new branch on the world tree or what not.

But it is amazing how much change there has been in the last century or two, and as much as people believe in "progress," anyone who is not blind would see that much of it has been horrific.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2016 at 02:16
I agree, and most of the horrific events have been man made. In many ways, science has been at the root of horrific events, and by that I mean things like nuclear bombs, Chemical and Biological warfare.

If all of the money spent on space exploration were to be spent on aid to Africa, we possibly would not be seeing the poverty and evil that exists there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2016 at 11:56
yes we would. The problem with places like Africa is that in terms of society they are often corrupt and violent, thus money is diverted.

Secondly, the interference of major powers that developed the colonial and post-colonial world still operates in Africa, with military coups and export deals that favour one power over another continue to influence their politics. China has invested heavily in Africa for instance and receives plenty of raw materials from that continent.

Thirdly, in terms of climate/environment, Africa is drying out slowly especially in the north, and the ability of arid terrain to support populations is limited. The issue is this - if you provide third world populations with food and water, what do they do? They do what comes naturally and have lots more children, thus the potential scale of the problem increases next time around. I do agree that tremendous strides in agricultural provision have been made in places like Ethiopia, but the problem still exists. Remember that overall the world population is increasing dramatically. The historiacal limit for human population is around two billion. We're more than three times that now and look like reaching nine billion by 2050. It can't go on. This population increase - a direct result of easier secure healthy lives - is driving toward a meltdown of the system that provides for us. It's already happened at least once, in ancient Egypt. All our current problems with Global Warming are a result of numbers. It's the size, and therefore spread, of human population that is generating the heat. After all, we've had industry for thousands of years but only in the last fifty or so has there been any alarm over temperature increases (which are probably mostly the result of interglacial environment changes that would have occurred eventually anyway between now and the next glaciation in around 50-60,000 years)
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 03:22
Caldrail wrote
Quote After all, we've had industry for thousands of years but only in the last fifty or so has there been any alarm over temperature increases (which are probably mostly the result of interglacial environment changes that would have occurred eventually anyway between now and the next glaciation in around 50-60,000 years

But we've only had the amount of industrial output for the past hundred and fifty years or so, and in the past ten years, there has been a concentration on cleaning up the environment.

It often seems a bit strange to me that the so-called birthplace of human kind, Africa, remains mired in savagery, corruption and poor health. I've often said in the past that many ex-colonies would possibly have been better off if they had remained colonies, not all, but most.

For some people, the 21st century is as far away now as it ever was.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 06:40
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Remember that overall the world population is increasing dramatically. The historiacal limit for human population is around two billion.
What is meant by "historical limit"? 


Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

 
 After all, we've had industry for thousands of years but only in the last fifty or so has there been any alarm over temperature increases (which are probably mostly the result of interglacial environment changes that would have occurred eventually anyway between now and the next glaciation in around 50-60,000 years)
Nothing like the industry of the last centuries or decades for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 08:40
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Franciscosan:

You ask if time is circular or linear. I would think that if time was circular, we would have to accept that all that is now new is in fact old, and that intelligent human-like life once walked the earth.

The interesting thing is that if time was circular, it could explain some of the great mysteries as yet usolved by science, such as how and why some civilisations were so much more advanced technologically than others. It could explain things like the Antikythera Machine and so on.

But of course I fantasize. Time must be linear, musn't it?


Sorry for this late answer but I am not sure why "circular time" should answer any of those "mysteries".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 14:12
Quote But we've only had the amount of industrial output for the past hundred and fifty years or so, and in the past ten years, there has been a concentration on cleaning up the environment.

But the scale of industry is equated to population levels and lifestyle potential. There is so much industry now because there are so many more of us, and more of those can now afford to create industrial economies or benefit from them, thus encouraging the cycle. For the good work cleaning up industry it is also notable than substantial pollution exists in certain areas, driven by the need for economic profit.

Quote What is meant by "historical limit"?

Until recent times human population never went beyond an average of two billion world wide. Disease, warfare, environmental hazards, etc etc all combined to keep numbers restricted if not entirely stable, just like any other established species.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 14:57
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote But we've only had the amount of industrial output for the past hundred and fifty years or so, and in the past ten years, there has been a concentration on cleaning up the environment.

But the scale of industry is equated to population levels and lifestyle potential. There is so much industry now because there are so many more of us, and more of those can now afford to create industrial economies or benefit from them, thus encouraging the cycle. For the good work cleaning up industry it is also notable than substantial pollution exists in certain areas, driven by the need for economic profit.

Quote What is meant by "historical limit"?

Until recent times human population never went beyond an average of two billion world wide. Disease, warfare, environmental hazards, etc etc all combined to keep numbers restricted if not entirely stable, just like any other established species.
I have seen substantially lower population estimates for all "pre-industrial" times. Also industrial output per capita has grown, so it is not only about population growth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 23:20
If time was circular on the level of the big bang, "mysteries" such as the Antikythera device would obviously not survive from one universe to the next, although particles would (Roger Penrose video).
If time was circular on smaller, and less complete cycle, then one could believe in earlier advanced civilizations, on a fairly technological level (or at least bits and pieces).  An extreme version of this is what some people read into the Atlantis myth.  Another view might be how Dark Ages come around in antiquity and in the Middle Ages.  Personally, I think that any age has its points of sophistication, its technological and artistic innovations that cannot be matched again, and that even for the darkest age, that age was not dark to its inhabitants.

The big bang circular model would fit Nietzsche's eternal recurrence of the same.  _Everything_ endlessly repeats until the full acceptance of the endlessness allows another possibility to originate.  There could also be a circularity on the level of personal 'reincarnation' (or technically, transmigration), which means your soul has a chance to come back, get right what's been done wrong, and. (probably) wrong what was previously done right.

The  Buddhist/Hindu version of reincarnation, unlike the Christian tradition, believed in not rocking the boat.  Christianity believes in reform in this life, Hinduism believes in following the rules and maybe you'll be reborn as a Brahman, or if you are on the bottom of the caste structure, of course you could convert to Christianity or Islam.  My point is, there is an inherent conservatism to the reincarnation idea, and an inherent idea of reform (or revolution?) in a Christian based society that, especially with Christianity compromised by the horror of WWI (continued in WWII) that allowed European society to run off the rails.


Edited by franciscosan - 19 Sep 2016 at 23:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2016 at 04:56
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Franciscosan:

You ask if time is circular or linear. I would think that if time was circular, we would have to accept that all that is now new is in fact old, and that intelligent human-like life once walked the earth.

The interesting thing is that if time was circular, it could explain some of the great mysteries as yet usolved by science, such as how and why some civilisations were so much more advanced technologically than others. It could explain things like the Antikythera Machine and so on.

But of course I fantasize. Time must be linear, musn't it?


Sorry for this late answer but I am not sure why "circular time" should answer any of those "mysteries".

What I meant was that circular time would mean that where we are at present (intellectual development, science etc) we have been before. So that things that are yet to be invented (in this phase of time) have been invented the first time around, and forgotten with the rotation of time. 

But, as I said, circular time is a fantasy-isn't it? Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2016 at 07:49
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Franciscosan:

You ask if time is circular or linear. I would think that if time was circular, we would have to accept that all that is now new is in fact old, and that intelligent human-like life once walked the earth.

The interesting thing is that if time was circular, it could explain some of the great mysteries as yet usolved by science, such as how and why some civilisations were so much more advanced technologically than others. It could explain things like the Antikythera Machine and so on.

But of course I fantasize. Time must be linear, musn't it?


Sorry for this late answer but I am not sure why "circular time" should answer any of those "mysteries".

What I meant was that circular time would mean that where we are at present (intellectual development, science etc) we have been before. So that things that are yet to be invented (in this phase of time) have been invented the first time around, and forgotten with the rotation of time. 

But, as I said, circular time is a fantasy-isn't it? Wink
You are right it is a fantasy (though You did not mean it?)
Devices such as the Antikythera device at least has nothing to do with "Circular time" in any litterary sense. All such devices from earlier periods would have disappeared without a trace had there been truly "circularity". The opposite is true, since this device and other "marvels from the past" has their origin in times that are well-documented (at least regarding many events), so we are not "forced" to ignorance about those ages, and what happened.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2016 at 13:23
Quote I have seen substantially lower population estimates for all "pre-industrial" times.

Global populations have varied enormously. Think about the effect of the Black Death on Europe. Or that human beings in distant prehistory were at one point an endangered species living in South Africa. We really came close to dying out completely, and our species is the only branch of human being left on the planet. But since you see these estimates at a lower value, this does not invalidate the figure I gave as a maximum.

Quote Also industrial output per capita has grown, so it is not only about population growth.

Actually yes it is. You're only looking at the superficial level of statistics. The root cause of prosperity is exactly the same as that which drives population levels. As I already pointed out, the increases in human populations that not only enjoy the fruit of industrial society are also increasingly creating their own. The scale of industrial development is directly related to population levels - since industry exists to profit from them. You can build as many factories as you like, but unless the population exists to buy the products, economic theory suggests they go out of business abruptly. Costs are high, therefore profit requires a large enough scale of return and that demands population and the markets they bring. The connection is inescapable. As population increases exponentially, so will the industries to supply them with material goods.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2016 at 14:04
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote I have seen substantially lower population estimates for all "pre-industrial" times.

Global populations have varied enormously. Think about the effect of the Black Death on Europe. Or that human beings in distant prehistory were at one point an endangered species living in South Africa. We really came close to dying out completely, and our species is the only branch of human being left on the planet. But since you see these estimates at a lower value, this does not invalidate the figure I gave as a maximum.

Quote Also industrial output per capita has grown, so it is not only about population growth.

Actually yes it is. You're only looking at the superficial level of statistics. The root cause of prosperity is exactly the same as that which drives population levels. As I already pointed out, the increases in human populations that not only enjoy the fruit of industrial society are also increasingly creating their own. The scale of industrial development is directly related to population levels - since industry exists to profit from them. You can build as many factories as you like, but unless the population exists to buy the products, economic theory suggests they go out of business abruptly. Costs are high, therefore profit requires a large enough scale of return and that demands population and the markets they bring. The connection is inescapable. As population increases exponentially, so will the industries to supply them with material goods.
So, there is a point where we simply disagree, at least as far as we discuss the past and not the possible futures. In the 20.th century in particular there came a very big and at that time growing divide between "rich" and "poor" countries. The industrial output of the later per capita being so small that it mattered relatively little despite growing populations. For all earlier periods of human history very low outputs for most of what we know of as industrial products. Only lately some asian countries are becoming significant industrial countries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2016 at 23:41
and before you had "rich" and "poor" countries, you had rich "Imperial" countries and colonies.  Most African countries are, what? 50-60 years old??  So to talk about a "growing divide" is a little 'off,' compared to what? Belgium and the Belgian Congo?  Of course, that is an extreme, but you get my point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 06:47
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

and before you had "rich" and "poor" countries, you had rich "Imperial" countries and colonies.  Most African countries are, what? 50-60 years old??  So to talk about a "growing divide" is a little 'off,' compared to what? Belgium and the Belgian Congo?  Of course, that is an extreme, but you get my point.
There was a period of growing gap in income per capita I think. That was not about being "imperial" or "colony". Then there was also big differences between how "imperial" the countries of Europe, even its western parts were. Britain, Spain, Portugal at the western atlantic "edge" may be seen as the overall biggest, if duration also counts, though the Netherlands and France where not much behind. Belgium had large involvment, but not for so long, as did not Italy and Germany. Denmark and even Sweden was involved on a smaller scale, and Switzerland (and if Austria is counted as "western", which is questionable) not. Most other european states were either under some of the above mentioned, or under Russia or the Hapsburgs and Ottomans for long periods.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 07:25
But, the OP, in this case fantasus orignally wrote
Quote The topic here is admittedly to a large degree dependent upon subjective opinion and experience of historical "distance". How has the view of the century gone, in particular its early part changed as it became somewhat distant and much of it now has became not so much a part of living memory as an affair of people that are not longer alive?

We seem to have strayed from the path a bit, and in doing so, are not addressing the OP.

In broad terms, I think that overall view of the 20th Century could be viewed as:-
  • a period during which the world has experienced several major wars only seperated by long periods of armed conflict;
  • arguably a period during which there have been the most scientific and technical advances the world has ever seen; and 
  • the precursor to even more of the same in the 21st Century.
Western powers which have, in the past 100 years or so meddled in the affairs of certain other Asian or African Countries, redrawing national boundaries, have left a legacy of intense hatred by some Middle Eastern countries, which now is being played out in terrorist attacks in what were peaceful countries.

This needs to be addressed more fully, and a peaceful settlement reached.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 08:34
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

But, the OP, in this case fantasus orignally wrote
Quote The topic here is admittedly to a large degree dependent upon subjective opinion and experience of historical "distance". How has the view of the century gone, in particular its early part changed as it became somewhat distant and much of it now has became not so much a part of living memory as an affair of people that are not longer alive?

We seem to have strayed from the path a bit, and in doing so, are not addressing the OP.

In broad terms, I think that overall view of the 20th Century could be viewed as:-
  • a period during which the world has experienced several major wars only seperated by long periods of armed conflict;
  • arguably a period during which there have been the most scientific and technical advances the world has ever seen; and 
  • the precursor to even more of the same in the 21st Century.
Western powers which have, in the past 100 years or so meddled in the affairs of certain other Asian or African Countries, redrawing national boundaries, have left a legacy of intense hatred by some Middle Eastern countries, which now is being played out in terrorist attacks in what were peaceful countries.

This needs to be addressed more fully, and a peaceful settlement reached.



Good answer! The remark about great wars separated only by periods of armed conflict seems appropriate when looking at all of humanity. For large parts of the planet, the periods of great wars were separated by long periods without major conflicts. Some may have participated only in one or two "world wars" and none or very small involvements in other. The very idea of looking at it at a global level became much more relevant in the 20.th. century than ever before, since the level of contact and communication increased that much. Even in our own lifetimes (at least for those who have lived some decades) that has changed, so countries that once appeared very far away from each other today has much more contact and interdependence. That to a degree that few places appears as exotic as they did earlier in our lives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 10:43
That century could, I think, more than anything else be seen as a period when distances were "reduced" or "dissappeared" OK, not the miles or kilometres but in terms of time and effort to overcome them. One important reasosnm there were not the same planet-wide conflicts before was that they were impractical to fight (though some historians have discussed "world wars" - fights over colonies in the centuries before, but I find that questionable). Well, also growth of so many variables, but even that growth was probably to a great extend dependent upon the turn to a "global society".
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