Among the innumerable projects on which to work from time to time, is write a Universal Story of the Social Life. The focus of it is that not until now I’ve thought of a better name it as ‘social technologies’: a history of the development of all those forms (institutions, structures, practices, beliefs) that we’ve been creating to operate through our lives. It is a story whose dramatis personae are, say, markets, money, Universities, cities.
A story requires a chronology, and a universal history requires a chronology and also universal. Task is enormously complex, because until just a few centuries while the various social spaces could be connected, they were not part of the same ‘world’ and its temporalities were different. A division into stages which go beyond regional contexts is company random. Even more so if we think that set the stages many times reads as if the establishment of linearity and necessary steps where it is not always the case. In any case, tough and a true schema is required to sort the narrative.
First, we will propose the scheme and then we will proceed to defend their reasons:
Age of Civilizations
- Stage I. early Civilization (3000-1200 BC)
- Stage II. Civilization average (1200 BC-500 ad)
- Stage III. Civilization late (500-1450 AD)
Modern Era (1450 ad -present)
- Stage I. early modern (1450-1750 CE)
- Stage II. Moderndiad full (1750 A.D. present)
The aforementioned structure is sorted combining several criteria. One is the direct emergence of new ‘social technologies’, which is what is used to split between eras. Another says relationship to the constitution of connections and flows between various traditions, and the moments of crisis in them, which serves in general to be divided between stages.
The division between eras, divided according to the following. On the one hand, we have tribal societies -which represent the location of base. And we define as social spaces where the kinship operating as a social technology fundamental, as language that mandates, in general, the various social activities. The first milestone baseline is when they are added then ‘civilized’ societies: Societies where there are other orders institutional -that have cities, that have organizations, at least the State, where it appears the writing as a technology of communication, etc., The modern era appears with the emergence of two milestones: (a) The birth of other institutional forms (for example, the media, public opinion, the scientific institutions (scientific journals, for example), corporations and (b) the development of streams social for the first time effectively are global (i.and when the silver extracted from Potosí ends up being used in China).
The division between stages, within each era, can be set depending on the degree of ‘solidity’ and connection between spaces of the social life.
In regard to the age of the civilizations, we can divide:
In the early period originate from these social spaces -with its basic technologies-but in general these spaces are relatively disconnected and are relatively fragile. In fact, they are all civilizations ‘forgotten’ -in the sense that their scriptures and their cultures were only able to be subsequently recovered, but for a long time no one knew the sumerian or Harappan. The year 1200 BCE (the crisis of the ‘peoples of the Sea’ in the near east) can function as the milestone of closing. None of the previous civilizations kept continuity, several of the post if you have had it (at least, their writings and their culture were not completely forgotten).
The middle period is one of expansion: Into new geographical areas are the technologies of this type of societies, and these technologies complexify and develop (think of the development of bureaucracies, imperial and universal religions of salvation), and certain basic connections appear in the cord civilizations of the Old World. The romans and Have had some idea of their mutual existence, if not permanent contact. It is the period that is set by the classical periods of several traditions, which -remember by more difficulties of transmission have never been completely forgotten. At the beginning of the Common Era we even have several great empires that among all cover the space between the British Isles and China. To the middle of the first millennium of the common era that structure breaks up, which marks the milestone of term. The greatest strength of the civilization is shown in that these crises and ‘falls’ do not imply disappearance. In a certain sense, perhaps it would be better to operate as milestone output 622, the Hegira, the birth of the more recent universal religion of salvation, and with it the birth of all the traditions civilizatorias that exist even today, but to operate with the year 500 may serve to not be anchored to a milestone specifically.
The final period is one in which, as we already saw, are established all the traditions civilizatorias modern (let’s say, are virtually all the ‘classics’, all the forms of writing, in operation). At the same time it is a period of actual contact between these traditions become more recurrent, and one can speak of the Silk road as something clear and established (and thus worth fighting for). Milestones by the end of this period I think are the year 1492 (Europeans reach and settle in America) and 1498 (Vasco de Gama reaches india). With this form for the first time flows effectively global, as we have already said, and in addition to that there are direct contacts of at least one tradition of civilization with all the others. In the list we choose as the end point 1450 to not stay with concrete milestones but rather with processes.
The modern age is where you are born and unfold as we have already said a number of new social technologies and deploying these processes of global flows. We may differ in its interior an early period (from about 1450 to about 1750) in which we witness the origin and first appearance of these technologies -which, by the way, as all things have a prior history, but it is here when they appear with clarity. But if have already appeared still do not dominate necessarily the social spaces: Are the scientific institutions, it appears the public sphere, but still are not ‘scientific societies’, or where the principles of the public discussion to structure their forms. In what may be called modernity full (starting at around 1750, or at the beginning of the periods of revolutionary economic and political of the EIGHTEENTH century) when those forms are deployed in strength.
Defined around forms of social technology, modern societies don’t have anything ‘specifically’ european. It happens that there is a place where these forms appear in the first place, and that was Europe, but that does not make them european. In the same way that the structures of civilization born in the ancient Sumerian (or Egypt or any of the states pristine) but does not have anything specifically sumerian, or agriculture emerged in the first place in several spaces, but the life of agrarian do not have the cultural characteristics of those places. To meet the development of these forms of social life with a first overall flow. europeans acquired a position of power and privilege, but this does not necessarily means a relationship with a superiority of their own tradition; and that even if you could prove that the characteristics of their tradition would indicate that there should be born for the first time, but the processes of origin are not necessarily identical to the subsequent processes.
The idea of modernity early and in full is due, in part, to an effect in which we are still living in a period of modern societies. In a certain sense, perhaps the whole period from 1450 forward is going to be seen as ‘early modern’ from a future perspective. The fact that the distinction tradition / modernity has been operational until now (i.and that modern societies are not only active in social media with pure modernity) may indicate that this corresponds to a single stage. Leave the past 550 years as part of the same stage also has the advantage of putting the duration of the stages nearest to the above (where the civilization late, we leave in a little less than a thousand years).
The above scheme, like all schemes, it has its problems. But I think that, roughly, is reasonable and although it is possible to modify the milestones and move the boundaries of the stages and the ages, the division as such it works. It is a division made from the point of view of the civilizations in the axis eurasian, but it is a fact that this is the axis the dominant (in population, resources, cultural influence etc). The stories of social spaces outside of that axis (the indigenous traditions in Latin America or the various developments in Africa) are relevant and have had effect; but indeed have been dominated and ‘cut’ on their trajectories. You can criticize these circumstances, but it is not possible to deny that they have happened.
Beyond the difficulties, something that has all the things, any utility will have to sort out, at least, the project to write that I mentioned at the beginning.