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We know that other animals don’t have history, only humans do. What exactly is history? Clearly it is not the study of individual human beings. Unlike other animals humans collectively create and maintain knowledge which includes technology, laws and culture.
The knowledge of how to grow food, of how to produce tools, of how to heal ourselves, in fact the knowledge of how to even speak and then write are all maintained collectively. Almost none of the items we use are produced individually. The skill and work of several millions of people is involved in the production of every article, and what enables this production and distribution is the collectively held and maintained knowledge.
This collective knowledge has been increasing and developing continuously for the past several million years and is leading to unification and systemisation of more and more people leading to even higher knowledge. Thus several thousands of years ago people lived in small band societies of only a few dozen people. Now we are part of a single global society. Several thousand years ago the knowledge – technology and wealth produced - was very low. Now we can travel to other planets and control sub-atomic processes.
In other words history is the study of human unification and systemization, thus the evolution and development of human society. We study the changes to and the development in the collective knowledge of humans and the resulting wealth that is produced by them. This wealth and knowledge are what bind us together as society. Not only this but the knowledge level is increasing as more and more groups coalesce into larger societies.
In this context the focus of history has to move away from studying the actions of individual persons and events. The methods of study used in ecology, weather and other systems have to be employed here too. The first step in this direction would be to create a proper framework to organise various stages in the development of the collective knowledge and wealth. This would help us to delineate the various stages in the systemisation, thus each stage indicating a more systemised and integrated human society.
We will discuss these details in later articles.