13,800,000,000 years ago – the Big Bang
3,550,000,000 years ago – life begins on Earth
200,000 years ago – Human life begins on Earth
6,000 years ago – Civilization begins
200 years ago – Industrialization begins
If a single day represented the passage of time from the Big Bang until now, Civilization started when the clock reads 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59.9624 seconds.
Long Term Thinking, Value
History provides perspective, which is essential here at the Ark of History. Just think about some of these (now debunked) ideas:
- The Sun revolves around the Earth
- The Earth is flat
Disproven beliefs from Ancient Cultures
- The Greeks believed that there are four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)
- Citizens of Rome once used Lead Acetate as a sweetener – today we know it causes lead poisoning.
- The Vikings believed that the Midgaard Serpent encircled their whole world.
- The Maori-Ouri and Maori of New Zealand believed that a bone hook was used to pull the islands out of the sea.
- People believed in Spontaneous Generation, which explained why maggots appeared to just “grow” from meat…until Louis Pasteur proved otherwise.
Leeches have been (widely) used in medicine for 2,500 years because most diseases were thought to come from “too much blood”…. Now Leeches have only specific and rare uses in modern medicine, because we understand germs, etc.
Note: I’m interested in the creation myths of every culture – please share!
Disproven beliefs from American founding
- Women were not given the right to vote. This stood for 144 years, until Aug 18th, 1920 per the 19th Amendment. (My friends from New Zealand point out that their nation was the first to grant Womens’ Suffrage)
It was legal (and for a time, assumed right and necessary) to administer whatever justice a parent felt was physically necessary to their (misbehaving) children, until the first successful prosecution of child abuse in 1874 using the law preventing cruelty to animals, by arguing that a child was an animal, and parents had limits to the discipline they could administer.
Some people were counted as fractions of a whole person in the first US Census. This was not changed until after the passage of the 13th Amendment, freeing the slaves. Until then, U.S. Constitution called for a census to count the: numbers of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, (and) three fifths of all other Persons. Meaning slaves (people forcibly kidnapped, relocated, and deprived liberty) only counted as 60% of a human being. (Article I, Section2, paragraph 3)
Everything is possible with enough time. Slavery can end. Child abuse can end. Women can get the right to vote. History provides perspective.
“The future ain’t what it used to be” – Yogi Berra
The Ark of History is dedicated to Principles which are timeless. Ideas, beliefs, customs, habits – given enough time they can all fall away.
“Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt, on the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a truly majestic place to behold, and a fitting metaphor for the Ark of History. The mighty Colorado river grabs silt from its journey down from the Rockies, and it cuts away at the layers of the Grand Canyon, exposing them, and creating a true wonder.
“Never overestimate what you can do in a day, or underestimate what you can get done in a decade.” – Tony Robbins, or possibly Bill Gates.
The United States of America is all at once a unique country, an imperfect country, and in many ways, the greatest country ever. It is not the greatest country because of its wealth, or strength, or resources. She is great because of the things she empowers her people to do, create, and accomplish – and what they actually deliver.
“The moral arc of the universe is long….but it bends towards justice.” – 19th Century Abolitionist Theodore Parker
This site takes its name from this Theodore Parker quote, because the Arc of History (the moral universe) is indeed long, but it does bend towards justice. When the Declaration of Independence was written and pronounced to the world, not only was it the first time a nation was born of an Idea and Ideals, but it was also a keen moment where men took the Arc of History in their hands and applied their intellectual might towards bending it towards justice.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident; That all Men are created equal; That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among them Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” – The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson
This site exists to encourage everyone to see that they can participate in bending the Arc of History towards justice. I am somebody. You are somebody. All of us are somebody. Some of us will advocate. Some of use will follow. And some of us will champion efforts to bend the Arc of History towards justice and push America to fully live up to the Ideals of her birth.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. – Opening sentence of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln’s speech – perhaps the best in American history – calls us to remember that four score and seven years before, the nation was born of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. And that those gathered in 1863 to dedicate the cemetery in Gettysburg owed gratitude to those who sacrificed for this great nation and its ideals.
He was right. There’s a reason why Abraham is on Mount Rushmore. The country was and is imperfect. But she is worth every bit of your
effort, every bit of your concern, every bit of your passion to improve her, to advance her, and to uplift her.
We have been given a great gift by our ancestors. Let us discuss with one another how to improve it. Let us connect with one another and make her stronger and greater. Let us look on the long term view – as the Colorado River looks upon the layers in the Grand Canyon, or the way Gutzon Borglum looked upon Rushmore.
Let us think long term, with long term value, and give an even greater gift to our children.