Thematic Approaches on Civilizational History
Directory 2: Thematic Approaches on Civilizational History
Thread 7: The P2P/Commons View
See also our two structured bibliographies:
Books, read and recommended:
- Beyond Civilization: The World's Four Great Streams of Civilization: Their Achievements, Their Differences and Their Future. Keith Chandler. Rivendell Publishing Company, 1992
- The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange. by Kojin Karatani. Duke University Press, 2014 
- Karl Polanyi. The Great Transformation. (1944)
- Jean Gebser. The Ever-Present Origin.
- Ecological Revolution: The Political Origins of Environmental Degradation and the Environmental Origins of Axial Religions; China, Japan, Europe. by Mark D. Whitaker
- R. I. Moore. The First European Revolution, c. 970-1215. Oxford and New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2000
- How the Irish Saved Civilization. The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. by Thomas Cahill. Bantam-Doubleday-Dell, 1995
Thread 8: Single Volume Treatments
- Rushton Coulborn. The Origin of Civilized Societies. (1959)
- The Fate of Empires. John Bagot Glubb
- The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History. by J. R. McNeill (Author, Georgetown University), William H McNeill. Norton', 2003 : a history of the formation of the cosmopolitan web, the communication's technologies that allow increasing interaction and integration of human communities up to the planetary scale.
- Melko, M. (1969). The Nature of Civilizations. Boston, Mass: Porter Sargent
Thread 9: Understanding the Dark Side
Here we will discuss authors such as Rene Girard and Georges Bataille, and others such as 'Traditionalist' authors, who reject modernity as such.
- Book: The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy.
; contemporary exponent of a 'Dark Renaissance', mostly Nietzschean.
- 1) The Netocrats, with Jan Söderqvist (2000);
- 2) The Global Empire, with Jan Söderqvist (2002)
- 3) The Body Machines, with Jan Söderqvist (2009) ;
- 4) Syntheism – Creating God in the Internet Age, with Jan Söderqvist (2014)
- 5) Digital Libido - Sex, power and violence in the network society, with Jan Söderqvist (2018)
- The Futurica Trilogy, with Jan Söderqvist (2012), contains books 1 to 3 above
- Intro: Is There Really a Noomachian Struggle? Michel Bauwens
- Context: Discourse of Civilization in the Works of Russia’s New Eurasianists
- Book: Noomakhia; a multi-volume comparison of multiple world cultures
- Book: Revolt Against the Modern World. Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga. By Julius Evola. Inner Traditions (Simon & Schuster)
- Intro: Rene Girard: Violence and Mimesis: excellent one-volume introduction  ; full-text
- Intro: John David Ebert on Heiner Muhlmann's Maximal Stress Cooperation Theory
Thread 10: Civilizational Conflict and Collapse
TBD: Huntington, Tainter, Coker, etc ..
Thread 11: Other Important Authors
- Owen Barfield
- Henri Bergson
- Keith Chandler
- Book: Beyond Civilization: compares four civilizational spheres, and predicts a post-civilizational social order;
- Herman Dooyeweerd
- Norbert Elias
- Edward Gibbon
- Intro: Edward Gibbon's Theory on the Rise and Fall of Empires: "Edward Gibbon famously advanced (the first of his six-volume history of Rome appeared in 1776) a two-part explanation for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The Latin West succumbed, he contended, to the spread from within of an increasingly intolerant monotheism, namely Christianity, and it failed, in the end, to repulse the barbarian invasions of the Goths, Vandals, and Huns. The Greco East, on the other hand, was assailed from without by barbarian Arabs and later, from without by the barbarian Turks who had converted to another monotheism, Islam. Thus, both halves of the Roman Empire were destroyed by barbarism and monotheism."
- Ivan Illich
- Intro: Ivan Illich on the Transition Towards an Age of Systems
- Bio: David Cayley: 'Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey': a magisterial synthesis and interpretation of his late friend and colleague
- Podcast: David Cayley on Why Ivan Illich Still Matters
- Karl Jaspers:
- John David Ebert on Karl Jaspers's The Origin and Goal of History
- Book: The Origins and Goal of History
- Update: From the Axial Age to the Moral Revolution: John Stuart-Glennie, Karl Jaspers, and a New Understanding of the Idea by Eugene Halton (2014)
- Carl Jung
- Marshall McLuhan
- Videos: John David Ebert on Marshall McLuhan ; John David Ebert on Marshall McLuhan's Culture Without Literacy
- Co-Authored Books:
- Articles: McLuhan's Phases of Media History ; Marshall McLuhan's Tetrad of Media Effects
- Discussion: Integrating Jean Gebser and Marshall McLuhan
- Lewis Mumford
- Introduction: Pioneers of Ecological Humanism
- Book: Technics and Civilization
- Bibliography: "My maturest interpretation of the archaeological and historic evidence will be found in three successive books: The City in History, 1960, Technics and Human Development, 1967, and The Pentagon of Power, 1970." 
- Camille Paglia
- Jordan Peterson
- Friedrich Schelling:
- Peter Sloterdijk
- Wolfgang Smith
- Leo Strauss
- A.N. Whitehead
- Book: Adventures of Ideas
- Ken Wilber
Critical Theory Approaches
- Adorno, T. W., and Max Horkheimer
Specific Thematic Approaches Related to World-Systems Analysis
Ecological World History
The Great Simplification= "that the long trajectory of human societies that solve problems by adding more energy will reverse this century. More energy allows for more complexity, less energy implies a simplification of processes, lifestyles and expectations". (Nate Hagens )
- Book: Anand Veeraraj. The Green History of Religion.
""Our findings showed that from about 12,000 BCE, the planet went through a warming trend causing extreme climate changes all across the globe. It disrupted primal societies and their ways of life and successively displaced ancient pastoral and agrarian communities. The warming trend intensified rapidly quickening the rise and fall of ancient civilizations at the core centers. The tumultuous social and ecological ethos of the pre-axial times became conducive for the formation of world-denying motifs that became the bedrock of all post-axial religions and philosophies. This, in a nutshell, is the thesis of Green History of Religion."
- Book: Ecological Revolution: The Political Origins of Environmental Degradation and the Environmental Origins of Axial Religions; China, Japan, Europe. by Mark D. Whitaker
This crucial book details the 'Pulsation of the Commons in ancient China, medieval Japan, and Post-Roman Europe.
- Book: Human Impacts on Ancient Environments. By Charles Redman. University of Arizona Press, 1999
Ian Morris' Thermodynamic Histories
- Book: The Measure of Civilization: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations. By Ian Morris. Princeton University Press, 2013. 
"Morris’s index breaks social development into four traits—energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity—and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world’s most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years—from about 550 to 1750 CE—when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead."
- Book: Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve. By Ian Morris. Princeton University Press, 2015
"Presents a provocative alternative: human culture gradually evolves towards whatever system of organisation allows a society to harvest the most energy, and we then conclude that system is the most virtuous one. Egalitarian values helped hunter-gatherers hunt and gather effectively. Once farming was developed, hierarchy proved to be the social structure that produced the most grain (and best repelled nomadic raiders). And in the modern era, democracy and individuality have proven to be more productive ways to collect and exploit fossil fuels. On this theory, it’s technology that drives moral values much more than moral philosophy." 
Economic World History
- Book: World Civilizations and Economic Cycles. Mamikon Airapetian.
- Book: The Destiny of Civilization. Michael Hudson. : “There are essentially two types of society: mixed economies with public checks and balances, and oligarchies that dismantle and privatize the state, taking over its monetary and credit system, the land and basic infrastructure to enrich themselves but choking the economy, not helping it grow.”
- Book: The Measure of Civilization: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations. By Ian Morris. Princeton University Press, 2013.  : " Morris’s index breaks social development into four traits—energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity — and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns."
- Book: Long Cycles: Prosperity and War in the Modern Age. By Joshua S Goldstein.
History of the Commons
- Commons, Markets and Associations in the European Middle Ages. JEAN-FRANÇOIS DRAPERI. Associations in the Medieval West. From the emergence of the commons to the supremacy of markets. Le fait associatif dans l’Occident médiéval. De l’émergence des communs à la suprématie des marchés. Le Bord de l'Eau, : "Associations dominate the economy of the central Middle Ages: monasteries, parishes, guilds, brotherhoods, communes, found the renaissance of the 12th century. Acting on the medieval associative fact invites us to pose the hypothesis that associations and the social economy are not an invention of contemporary society, but rather a discovery. The social economy was not born in reaction to capitalism, but the capitalist economy was born from the transformation of trade associations and the seizure of power by merchants and bankers over the commons and communes in the 13th and 14th centuries."
History of Interconnective Webs
- The Webs of Humankind: A World History. By J. R. McNeill. Norton, 2021. : see: World History of the Webs of Humankind
"A cohesive, single-author world history built around the webs of interaction that stitched together regions and over time, the globe. .. McNeill uses connective webs—along which trade, religious beliefs, technologies, pathogens, and much else traveled—to organize details and keep the big picture in view."
Specific Books on the Theme of the Evolution of Consciousness Through Time
List of readings inspired by John David Ebert. Ebert has organized these recommended readings in 2 pairs: Steiner and Aurobindo focus directly on the spiritual aspects; Neumann and Gebser on the psychological; and de Chardin and Arthur Young, on the physical/scientific plane.
- The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views. By Jennifer Gidley. INTEGRAL REVIEW 5, 2007
: ; strongly recommended book-length attempt at comparison of the evolutionary narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber.
(they are treated more fully in other sections of the bibliography; this is a short specialized list)
- Book: An Outline of Esoteric Science.
- Video: John David Ebert on Rudolf Steiner's Outline of Esoteric Science: playlist
- Outline: part 1 ; part 2 ; Creation myth: Moon
- Introductory Book: Satprem on Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness
- Book: The Life Divine
- Video: John David Ebert on Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine
- Intro: The Evolution of Consciousness According to Jean Gebser
- Video: John David Ebert on Jean Gebser's Ever-Present Origin
- Book: The Ever-Present Origin
- Details: Gebser’s Research Methodology
- Book: The Phenomenon of Man