Big picture history is really a scientific-based narrative for us to use in determining how and where humans fit into the greater scheme of matter ‘evolving’ over time. Its main conclusion that the universe is a transitory phenomenon is based on a couple of key scientific criteria that have the universe coming together, over 13 billion years, as various forms of intergalactical matter such as stars, planets and galaxies, driven by the formation of free energy, only then to reverse itself and dissolve into nothing over the next quadrillion years. While this course and its teachers offer me a logical and possible explanation as to the triggering events and agencies that changed the universe from a state of ionized plasma to atoms to molecular compounds, all ignited by a massive thermal explosion, I am still left wondering how all these chemical elements came together to form specific forms of life that came to exist on earth. For instance, the goldilocks effect – not too hot and not too cold – suggests conditions controlled by a supernatural force outside the universe. While I have no trouble accepting that energy waves, travelling through space, is evidence of cosmic radiation which means that the universe could still be expanding, I still struggle with the notion that earth and natural life could come into existence along the way strictly because of a molecular reconstituting of matter due to optimal conditions over billions of years. Even with the impressive expansion of the fossil record and advances in radioactive dating, the odds of that happening like this and then leading to intelligent life beggars the imagination. In all fairness, the storyline as to the formation of the universe does eventually become more focused with the emergence of man during the Paleolithic Period or Stone Age – 250,000 years ago – to begin what we call the civilizations of history or the march through time. Man, ‘evolving’ from homo erectus to homo sapiens, becomes the centerpiece of this roadmap as it looks at his gradual taking over of the earth. There would be challenges along the way, such as significant environmental changes but, because of his inherent ability to collectively learn, as his primate ancestors did in the bushlands of prehistoric Africa. Major separation of the earth’s tectonic plates, resulting in the formation of intercontinental land bridges, would eventually lead to a hunter-gatherer culture populating the earth. Speeding up the process was the intervention of a series of northern glacial periods that drove people further south. The switch from hunting to agriculture to industrialization is all predicated on the assumption that humans were increasingly feeling the need to come together in order to survive in an often harsh and unpredictable environment. The capacity to tame nature through the employment of better technology, as a means to modernizing has, unfortunately, led to harmful consequences such as depletion of the natural order and global warming. In conclusion, this course left me with the very impression that mankind will continue to adapt as it contends with these new dire realities. However, in bigger perspective of eons of years, long-term survival of the human race is minimal because of the great natural forces at work in the universe, such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. While I don’t agree with this view,  I thank David Christian and his colleagues of Macquarie University for taking the time to share it with me.