This week I have been thinking about how humans go through different periods of time that are usually not named until long after they have passed.
Historians use archaeological evidence and written records to learn about technology, leaders, specific advancements and events. They then use this information to describe distinct periods of time that they identify as eras. Each of these eras is further sub-divided into “ages”, civilizations and empires.
Let’s review how far we have come:
- Pre-historic Era (to approximately 600 BC) – This timeframe recognizes that there were humans on our planet who were active but little to no records available to clearly describe their lives. The three ages in this era are the Stone Age (first use of tools), Bronze Age (invention of wheel and metal work) and the Iron Age (use of ironworks, steel and writing systems as well as planning of cities).
- Classical Era (600 BC to 476 AD) – This period is significant as it marks the beginning of written history, philosophy and specific political movements. A great deal of documentation is available to describe advancements that occurred in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome as well as the and Byzantine Empires.
- The Middle Ages (476 AD to 1450 AD) was a very unstable period that is divided into Early, High and Late Middle Age categories. The beginning is often referred to as the Dark Ages which saw the fall of the Roman Empire followed by the Black Plague.
- Early Modern Era (1450 AD to 1750 AD) – This involved significant change in politics, science, economics, religion and geography. Renaissance Humanism, Protestant Reformation, European Renaissance, and The Enlightenment are each written about and studied for their unique developments.
- The Modern Era (1750 AD to the present) – Nine well-documented periods have been categorized: First Industrial Revolution, Revolutionary Period, Age of Imperialism, Victorian Era, Second Industrial Revolution, World War I, Great Depression, World War II, and the Contemporary period which began in 1945.
It is interesting that the Contemporary era, which is also known as the Information age, is less than fifty years in the making but, the technological advancements that occurred have totally changed our lives.
Now we have machines to do the tasks that would otherwise be labour-intensive. We have what I call the “unpaid help” to cook our meals, wash our clothes and clean the dishes. Research that might have taken years to do is now available at the click of a mouse. (How do you think I found the information for this article?).
In seconds we can be communicating with individuals on the other side of the world or in a few short hours actually be with them in person.
The downside of where we are now is that we can be sedentary and lose our health. We often don’t get exercise that our ancestors gained through regular daily activities or eat nutritious natural foods that they grew – unless we make a deliberate effort to have good practices. We don’t even have to think for ourselves anymore as there are unlimited sources that will just tell us what to think and do.
So, since the beginning of time we have divided history into eras and ages. What will be next? Naysayers predict trouble and the end of the world. The Bible promises 1000 years of peace. Astrologers and song writers promote the idea of an Age of Aquarius.
No matter what happens my hope is that we will be recognized as creating an Age of Wisdom – a time when we will be able to take all the information available and apply it in a thoughtful and productive manner.
What are you doing in your life to contribute to my hoped for “Age of Wisdom”?