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“History is a long river that flows from ancient times to modern times, and human beings are its protagonists. In addition, some objective forces have also made great contributions. It is because of these factors that make this river flows endlessly. Here are some of these Non-Human Power: Climate, Philosophy, Religion, and Trade.
First, the climate directly affects people’s agriculture. For example, the excellent climate of the Mesopotamia has greatly promoted the development of human’s agriculture. Philosophy is evidence of the development of human ideology, and this evidence has facilitated the development of history. For example, the humanist ideas of the European Renaissance allowed people to discover the value of themselves, thereby helping the establishment of democratic institutions. The concept of respect and inferiority of ancient Chinese Confucianism helped the emperors of all generations to unite the hearts of the people. Secondly, with regard to religion, different religious beliefs have bred different ethnic civilizations and enriched the entire world. For example, Western Christianity and Eastern Buddhism created two completely different races.
In addition, the development of history and the interaction of civilizations largely come from trade. First, trade and transportation networks complement each other and push each other. For example, the opening of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in ancient China was to connect the transportation of the goods from the north and the south; the opening of new routes in the early days and the expansion of colonies were also for the plunder and trading of goods. Second, the exchange of commodities requires currency, and trade is conducive to the establishment of the currency system, while the unification of currency and the fiscal and taxation system are the characteristics that a unified country should possess. Third, trade stimulates economic prosperity, thereby advancing changes in people’s lifestyles and cultural prosperity in an era. For example, Chinese art and literature flourished during the Tang and Song dynasties. Fourth, world trade has brought about the collision of cultures. It has promoted the understanding between countries and accelerated the mutual learning and integration between cultures. For example, The silk roads which goods were passed down the line rather than carried by one merchant along the entire route brought many arts. Many ancient Chinese statues, horses, and other sculptures often have rough styles in their strokes because they are much influenced by Persian art.
These non-human forces are also interlinked. For example, under the influence of the Silk Road, Buddhism changed given that the gods of many people along the Silk Road were incorporated as bodhisattvas. When it came to Indian Ocean Commerce, Muslim merchants and sailors established communities of trades from East Africa to the South China coast. This is a blend of religious power and trade power.
Of course, these powerful non-human factors not only bring positive meaning to history, they also have negative effects. With regard to climate, the cyclical deterioration of the natural environment in ancient societies caused the famine and death. For example, after the fourth to fifth centuries AD, the harsh environment of the steppe in northern Europe forced a large number of nomadic peoples to move south, which directly led to the collapse of the Roman Empire. In terms of philosophy, Chinese Confucian ideology of respect and inferiority has also led to long-term inequality of women in China. Religious rule in the Middle Ages in Europe made people live in oppression. In world trade, there is a plunder of capital, which will definitely bring wars.
In general, it is precisely the coexistence of the advantages and disadvantages of these non-human forces that makes history seem so real and colorful.”