While I was watching this TED Talk, given by David Christian, I kept hearing the theme song to The Big Bang Theory in my head. Christian’s TED talk condenses the history of our universe- from the Big Bang to the Internet- into a span of less than 18 minutes. The Big Bang itself takes him about 4 minutes to cover, which I found particularly amusing, given the fact that it took my geology professor a day and a half. Obviously, Christian is paring down history to the bare essentials, but he also includes a very important element that I think is often overlooked when giving an overview of history- people. The human element is shown by Christian to be vital to our “big history”, as he says. When I teach social studies to my students, I encourage them to look at the people who are involved the events we study, because when you think about it, that’s what history is- people making decisions, people making choices, and people affecting other people.
I encourage you to watch this video; it is only 17:40 and Christian does an outstanding job of engaging the audience and balancing complex topics with “user-friendly” narration.
And you should probably check out The Big Bang Theory, too. 😉