Monday, April 27, 2009

Shifting again

After about a week when I doing more surfing of the web, and visiting sites repeatedly to see if there was anything new, I decided that the follow-the links approach was really going too slow, and it was boring and not very exciting. One of the things I do in such times is to take a few notes on what it is that I want to do.
I'm a great fan of the grand, sweeping overview, the thrilling possibilities of new connections just barely seen. I live for the moments when I can see how everything connects, fits together, and make sense.
And then comes the mundane reality when I try to put this vision into words and links, and then is where the gaps, and the missing pieces, and I haven't got to that part yet, and so forth starts to intrude. So I go back into the trenches to fill in the gaps and make the links work.

So, where I am right now. It ought to be well established that history requires that I work with the various peoples of the world, and so far, that means nations. So, one part of what I'm doing needs to extend the nations. Have I ever mentioned that I dislike alphabetical order? Sometimes it is the best way of looking things up, but other times, it isn't. I do have over 100 different nations on the list, but some of the smaller-but-important ones, like Greece or Israel or Ireland, tend to get pushed way down that list, and I haven't got there yet. And I don't like to just go adding nations. Most of my areas have huge backlog of nations I don't have connected yet. So, before I go adding new ones, I need to finish categorizing the ones I have.

But, when I've just distributed a dozen or so of them to the four major groups of peoples, I create a bit of "I'll get to it later". I went through the sociology-applied to history page and got Western Civilization straightened out. Goody. But now it's later for Asiatic peoples, and once I've done it to history, I need to go out to each of its subdivisions, create links to nations and parcel them out among peoples. So the grand sweeping world vision has a couple of chairs in the path of the broom.

I tend to go back and forth on History, whether I want to start from the beginning and go forward, or start from the present and work back. Sometimes I do one, sometimes the other, and sometimes I do both at the same time. How's that for being mixed up? This time, I've decided to go for the beginning to forward, and see how that goes for a while. Fine, but because I've been working on the later parts of history, the first section, Prehistory, doesn't have a complete list of nations and they aren't distributed to the proper peoples.

Western Civilization in Prehistory doesn't have a full set of links, because Greece and Sweden are so far down the list in terms of their modern population that they haven't prompted a creation of Balkan peoples or Scandinavian peoples, and you can't do Western Civilization properly at any time before about 1400 without mentioning Greece. Fine. I'll add to nations. In the meantime, I need to straighten out what I do have for Prehistory. But...wait, I can't just pile on nations for Prehistory, because that a bigger pile up of Asiatic nations waiting to be distributed than there was for History in general. Which is fine, because Asia was more important than Europe was in Prehistoric times anyway. But I still have to stop and do the sorting, which goes along with my having to do it.

But this is really just too broad to be really meaningful. I need to break down prehistory itself and work on its subdivisions, which starts the whole thing over in with early Prehistory. Oh, I can't forget about the connections with modern history, because a great deal of what we know about prehistory came from studies that were done in the 19th century and 20th century, so I can't intelligently talk about who said what (such as where do these technical terms like upper paleolithic come from and what do they mean), without more than the bare-bones outline of the 19th century I have now..but I haven't got that far in my study of history yet. In the mean time, I'm going through Western Civilization (which is dreadfully incomplete as it is, because I have fewer nations to work with) and I find that that part isn't sorted out the way it is for the broader categories...As in, I still have to create links to particular nations like Spain, and I can't say much about it anyway because I've never looked in any depth at Spanish prehistory, except for maybe something about cave paintings which date to middle Prehistory anyway, and that needs to be approached from Spain anyway, which is primarily classified in a whole different section from history, so I need to straighten that all up. Except when I go to add Spain, (and shouldn't I include Portugal along with Spain, Italy, and France? Wait, that's way down on the list of nations too), It should properly go in a Hispanic nations category...never mind that Spain is a modern nation and didn't exist as such until after the collapse of the Roman empire, but the classifications of the Hispanic nations weren't needed until after the Spanish Conquest following Columbus. so Hispanic and Spain are, for this period, practically the same, so there's some duplication...
And now I get to go through similar stuff for Middle Prehistory, and Antiquity (yep, all four and a half Millennia of it), and I haven't even started in Classical and medieval times, where things get interesting, or modern times, where they get even more complications.
And besides that, Early prehistory covers a huge time span, and I'm not doing it any justice by not subdividing it. except that's so far down the list of things that eventually need to be subdivided that I'm not even going to think about it this year.

I consider that I'm doing well to finally have a review of Anglic peoples, and British Isles that mentioned each of the four major historical periods and their second order subdivisions.

And this is just one day's sample. So why do I go through all the hassle of trying to set up and sort out tangles like this? Well, It's like I said, I have this grand, sweeping vision that, when I stop to review it, gets me out of bed in the morning...

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