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Duane Elgin

Hi Brandon–  


In order to say where Big History is “from,” it is first important to say what Big History “is.” If it is about the story of a universe that is non-living at its foundations and without meaning, purpose, or consciousness, then I think it would be accurate to say it is “from” David Christian, Eric Chaisson, and others connected with the current dogma of the IBHA (International Big History Association). In contrast, if Big History is drawn from a living systems perspective with meaning, purpose, and consciousness as an integral aspect of the universe, then I think it would be accurate to say it is “from” the work of scholars such as Arnold Toynbee, Joseph Campbell, and Thomas Berry. I presented a paper on these two perspectives at the last meeting of the IBHA in 2014 titled, “Deep Big History: A Living Systems Paradigm.” Although I described the living systems perspective as a “provisional paradigm,” it has been rejected by IBHA and they refuse to publish any article in their newsletter with this perspective. Given this explicit censorship of a living systems perspective by IBHA, it will be very difficult to say with confidence where Big History is “from.” 


Here is the URL for the essay on “Deep Big History”: http://duaneelgin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/DEEP-BIG-HISTORY-A-Living-Systems-Paradigm.pdf