Big History and the Human Future: Sixth Extinction or Interstellar Civilization [Brian D’Agostino]


Looking at the Earth’s present moment on a geological timescale, humanity sits at a crossroads.  One possible future is the “Sixth Extinction,” a massive loss of biodiversity caused by climate change and other human impacts, and which includes the end of civilization as we have known it.  An alternative future is the emergence of an interstellar civilization characterized by social equality, sustainable economics, and the abolition of war.  Zooming in to a timescale of decades, this same crossroads coincides with a crisis of global capitalism and American military hegemony.  This paper explores the present moment of Earth’s history on these very different timescales, hoping to shed light on the nature of the crossroads facing humanity.

Short bio:

Brian D’Agostino is an interdisciplinary social scientist, educator, and researcher who holds Ph.D., Masters, and Bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University. His publications and other professional qualifications span psychology, mathematics, political-economy, and public policy. Dr. D’Agostino is President of the International Psychohistorical Association and the author of peer-reviewed articles in psychohistory and political psychology. His publications have appeared in the peer-reviewed Political Science Quarterly, Political Psychology, Clio’s Psyche, and The Journal of Psychohistory.