If historians don’t tell stories at the scales of creation myths, someone else will.
Every kid goes to school full of questions about meaning. You know, ‘What’s my place in the universe? What does it mean to be a human being? What are human beings?’ Existing courses cannot help you answer those questions. They can’t even help you ask them.
When very large stars die, they create temperatures so high that protons begin to fuse in all sorts of exotic combinations, to form all the elements of the periodic table. If, like me, you’re wearing a gold ring, it was forged in a supernova explosion.
We, as extremely complex creatures, desperately need to know this story of how the universe creates complexity and why complexity means vulnerability and fragility.
In literature classes, you don’t learn about genes; in physics classes you don’t learn about human evolution. So you get a fragmented view of the world. That makes it hard to find meaning in education.
Learning to domesticate the horse was a sort of energy revolution.
Gravity is more powerful where there’s more stuff.
I think what I was after was a unifying story that could bring everything together, that could give me a sense of the whole of history.
All religions, all indigenous traditions, all origin stories provide a large map of where you are.
Humans are remarkable: the first species in almost four billion years of life on earth that dominates the biosphere. This gives us the power, in principle, to build societies in which everyone flourishes. But it also creates great dangers because it is not clear that we really understand how to use our potentially devastating powers.