The Outline of History

Core Story Elements



TUCSON (A-P) — The original Outline of History was written by H. G. Wells in 1919 in two volumes totaling 1,100 pages. Here is an updated and shorter outline including prehistory and possible posthistory.

  1. Growth, whether of humans or yeast, is good.
    1. Industrial society, the Euro-Sino Empire, empowered by fossil fuel, exuberantly exceeds all prior growth cultures to become the first global empire.
      1. Exponential competitive growth depends on a positive growth rate in resource and energy consumption.
      2. The system self-organizes to maximize short-term benefits (e.g. profits, personal earnings, conquest).
      3. The system continues to grow until limits are reached.
        1. Sustainable limits can be exceeded.
        2. Exceeding limits has short-term benefits.
        3. Assuming no foresight, limits will be pushed until negative feedback loops develop.
      4. Overshooting sustainable limits, by definition, results in a negative growth rate (descent/collapse).
        1. Adaptive, intentional descent may be gradual and non-catastrophic (e.g. monarch butterfly migration).
        2. Resistance to descent by unadapted humans delays transition leading to rapid descent/collapse/weakness which among empire builders allows for revolution or conquest.
        3. All prior human empires have resisted descent.
        4. Adaptive systems use last remaining resources to send out copies (information) having a potential to renew growth when resources are encountered (e.g. yeast sporulate, some monarchs overwinter).
      5. Individual units serve the organizational values and contingencies of short-term gain.
        1. Humans living in nomadic groups of 20 to 150 (bands of sisters) live largely self-directed life-driven purpose filled lives (the inquiry/conjecture driven life) in response to real needs resulting in active hunting/gathering/cropping to serve loved ones in an egalitarian gifting economy with short-term payoffs proportional to effort.
        2. Humans living in complex societies serving vast governmental, business, religious and other sociopolitical hierarchical organizations building empire, put in prescribed time periods (work jobs) to later engage in a frenzied pursuit of manufactured wants (consuming experiences, services and products) that need be paid for—hence the working for money thing. Their purpose-driven life (the conclusion/belief driven life) is to do as directed by organizational belief-based narratives and norms (e.g. work, shop, eat prepared/processed foods, tune in to media, drive cars...) to serve growth interests.
          • Humans (living in the vast "human zoo") malfunction.
          • Humans engage in compensatory,  surrogate activities (e.g. drugs, sports, tourism, social media, TV, porn, shop, drive cars).
          • Quietly desperate purpose-driven/bilief-driven humans talk about "getting a life," then go to work or go shopping (engage in surrogate consumer activities).
      6. Growth depends on a culture that normalizes it.
        1. Those who embrace growth prosper in the short-term and endeavor to normalize growth (a positive feedback loop having a negative outcome).
        2. Technology is to a growth culture as a barrel of wine or vodka faucet in their home is to an alcoholic.
        3. Those who resist growth are soon outnumbered, subsumed and/or marginalized (e.g. First peoples).
    2. Industrial growth can be sustained into the 22nd century and beyond if an alternative energy source is developed, e.g. fusion that is "too cheap to meter" or a Dyson sphere is constructed.
      1. Increasing energy input allows all Earth-based resources to be consumed and all solar system resources to be extracted to allow continued economic growth, development, progress, population growth and increased per capita consumption as resources, out to and including the Oort Cloud, are taken.
        1. Some organisms are kept as pets.
        2. Some organisms are kept to consume.
        3. Some organisms are kept in zoos to amuse.
      2. The Solar System, even if Sol is enclosed in a Dyson sphere, cannot provide enough materials nor energy to support continued growth.
      3. Assuming foresight, humans can techno-sporulate, spread out from Sol in a quiescent state to nearby star systems to restart and convert them into industrial growth products/humans/transhumans/borg.
        1. Growth during transit cannot be supported, necessitating a largely non-functioning suspended state to achieve a condition of temporary non-growth.
        2. An ability to grow when new resources are encountered must remain functioning.
      4. If warp drive is developed, the rate of galactic growth could be sped up but would otherwise follow the same trajectory.
        1. Once construction of a Dyson sphere begins, it could easily be finished in 2,000 years.
        2. If during those 2,000 years, ships are sent to nearby stars at a rate of one every 35 years, 50 ships could be sent forth at sub-light speed, accelerating and decelerating at 1g, to build Dyson spheres, allowing an entire galaxy to blink out in less than 16,000 years.
      5. When the Milky Way is consumed and limits to growth reached, when all stars are surrounded by Dyson spheres, industrial society must sporulate and disperse to neighboring clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.
    3. Humans are exceptional as converting stars into Dyson spheres would turn them into infrared emitters observable from all galaxies as spreading from a point of origin as stars go dim.
      1. Within all 1012 galaxies, none are blinking out or have blinked out due to a tapping of stellar energy by techno-life forms.
      2. Any techno-growther life form will need more energy than any planet or other solar system debris could provide and to sustain growth will use all energy produced by a star.
        1. Solar arrays can be built in space, with the additional energy used to support continued growth.
        2. Building of solar arrays would continue until a star is enclosed by them (becoming a Dyson sphere) in just a few millennia, such being in the nature of exponential growth.
        3. Therefore no techno-growers exist in the universe other than industrial techno-humans, so when Sol blinks out, it will be the first of many to come, or....
    4. Humans are not exceptional and will merely have an epoch named after them.

  2. Growth is limited.
    1. Humans, like all known organisms, embrace growth whenever conditions allow.
      1. Growth continues until hard limits are reached.
        1. Adaptive organisms transition (e.g. yeast sporulate, monarch overwinter).
        2. All organism's growth endeavors collapse.
          • Environmental life-support system slowly recovers and when conditions allow, a remnant population grows to repeat the pattern (e.g. spring to winter to spring: temperate ecosystem seasonal oscillation).
          • Collapse of life-support system leads to extinction under conditions the organism has no prior evolutionary experience with (reindeer on St. Matthew Island/rats and mice in Calhoun experiments) due to failure to develop adaptations (such as humans exploiting fossil fuels on a pale blue dot).
      2. Exponential growth ends, oscillating between periods of moderate positive and negative growth in response to changing environmental conditions.
    2. Ecolate humans (mámas), unlike all known organisms, understand, foresee limits, and embrace them before overshoot leaving significant growth potential unused to avoid negative growth when conditions are less favorable than average (e.g. drought periods, climate change).
      1. Ecolate humans cannot coexist with growther humans.
        1. Growther humans dreaming of everMORE! will not consider self-imposed limits and so will be empowered, temporarily, to subsume, destroy, consume or marginalize the environment and all who live as if they were the environment.
        2. Carcinogenic consumptive growth soon ends in death or...."we are Borg, resistance is futile, all will be assimilated," or.......
      2. Humans transition to managed commonism to live the ecolate life of enough and embrace system limits (e.g. Kogi, traditional Hopi, proposed Federation).


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