“Complexity, Energy and Information in Big History and Human History”
Christian provides a ‘big history’ narrative, placing human history within the context of the larger histories of the biosphere and the universe. He integrates scholarship from history, physics, geology, biology, and other relevant disciplines. He shapes his narrative around three key ideas: (1) increasing complexity, (2) flows of energy and (3) increases in information and human understanding, particularly through ‘collective learning’, which have enabled complexity to increase. Within his 14-billion-year storyline, the agricultural and industrial revolutions mark central, far-reaching epochal advances in the progressive move toward today’s increasingly complex world. Understanding the large trajectories of human history will be essential, as we try to make sure that these huge flows of energy do not transform the biosphere and ruin the lives of future generations.