29th Oct 2015: A Memory of Blood; Livestreaming and the Fall of the Mongolian Empire by Donald Carrick
Come along to The Counting House at 7pm to listen to Donald, share some food, and learn about the Mongolian Empire…
Title of Talk:
A Memory of Blood: Livestreaming and the Fall of the Mongolian Empire
Bullet Points of What You Would Like to Talk About:
- The myriad narratives that could describe the aftermath of the rule of Genghis Khan
- The conflict between those narratives, as real life does not conform to narrative and thus to the way we understand life. The inherent contradictions this illuminates in the human mind and our conceptions of the reality.
- The fall of the Mongolian Empire after the death of Genghis Khan and the conflict between his children.
- The conflict between our ingrained narrative thinking and the shape of the modern world. The dangers this poses to our sense of self and reality if not addressed.
- The question of how history can be made use of in our conception of the current and future stories of reality we inhabit.
A Few Paragraphs About Your Subject:
Stories are everything. Many stories are influenced by history, but could it be that history itself is shaped by stories, even fictional ones? Can we honestly say only fact matters in any historical narrative? Is the past set in stone or is it a fluid entity like the future?
As we enter a new so called “information age” what problems do our own minds present that must be addressed when dealing with any issue of substance? We are not dealing with a bug, we are dealing with a feature. It may very well not be possible to end this aspect of ourselves but if it is addressed and understood can it be a tool for modern and future humanity?
I have long been fascinated by history. Once in primary school we were given the assignment of giving a ten minute talk on a historical subject of our choice. About thirty minutes into my forty five minute discussion of the barbarity of roman civilization I realized that not only were the school bullies being handed a blank cheque but the teacher was getting really annoyed. I’ve always found it fascinating, even to a personal fault. At university I studied history but would change to a different subject, I disliked the focus on repetition of others’ opinions and away from discussion and debate on personal perspectives.
This interest has persisted throughout my life. A few years ago I decided to learn about history otherwise unknown to me. The book I picked up on was Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. It’s an excellent if not flawless book and I highly recommend it. I was surprised by how much my expectations of what its story would be were subverted, and this led me to two things.
Firstly; I was amazed that such a complex and interesting life was not better known and I was very interested by the many part of the story that seemed universal, telling of something inherent to the human condition. Secondly; it began a long process of thinking on the way stories and narrative play a role in our conception of history. I loved the book because it was such a wonderful story, or rather series of stories, with the central figure changing from hero to anti-hero to villain to hero and back again, not just because of my interest in the facts of history.
Over the following years I’ve read a great deal about this man’s life and each reading doesn’t leave me clearer but rather much more conflicted on my opinion of him. I hope that through these talks I will be able to engender in you as much interest in this figure, and in the narrative of history, as it has engendered in me.