Human-Centered Cosmic History

See this interesting Three-Minute Pictorial History of the World

This is a nice selection and collection of colorful slides presenting the evolution of the cosmos from the Big Bang to the current status.

However, it is important to remember while watching it that this is very much from the terrestrial, human, and local-cultural perspectives, and not as objective and therefore as scientific one might think.

It is from the terrestrial perspective in that every galaxy shown is from pictures taken from the earth. Every cell, organism, and creature displayed is part of earth’s history, rather than of the universe as a whole. Other planetary systems, with other or no life forms would have a history to tell that is very different from what is shown here.

It is from a human perspective because every form and shape, every color and configuration that is shown is the way the universe appears in the human ocular system. Take away the retina in the human eye, and there would be no color or shape in the objects we perceive: no cloud or constellation such as we see. The nebulous blobs of matter and the indistinguishable range of electromagnetic waves form one vast chaotic spread permeating and interpenetrating the physical world. It is the mapping of all the vibrations in the human cerebral system through sensory stimuli that create the wonder and splendor of the mathematically orchestrated music and dance that our brains recognize and interpret.

The anthropocentric terrestrial history is heavily circumscribed by cultural boundary: From the figure of Mona Lisa on the narrative is heavily, indeed uniquely, in the context and landmarks of Western civilization. This is not wrong, but it is important to bear in mind as one sees through this very nicely done show that it is not as naturalistically objective as it might strike one at first glance. When it says this is notre histoire (our history), one should know who the notre refers to, and which planetary perspective the histoire is narrated.

February 18, 2016

Published by:

Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.

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